Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Courtland Milloy on vocational education

Post Metro columnist Courtland Milloy has a great article today about the proposed construction academy at Cardozo Senior High School and the stigma attached to vocation education.
"If you say to a parent, 'Do you want your son or daughter to make $50,000 to $80,000 a year,' they all say yes," Randolph said. "But if you add that they will be carrying a lunch pail instead of a briefcase and wearing jeans and a hard hat instead of a suit, many of them say, 'Well, I'm not so sure.' . . . Many of us have come to believe that if you wear a hard hat and jeans at work instead of a suit and tie, you are somehow less than, and that blue-collar work doesn't merit the respect that having a government job does."
This reminds me of a talk by Clifford Stoll on C-Span where he was arguing against the idea of technology (i.e. computers in schools) as the panacea for education. He pointed out that in Silicon Valley where he lived the hourly rate of a computer programmer was a heck of a lot less than the hourly rate of plumber.

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