By Jeremy Wallace
August 7, 2014
According to the McCook Daily Gazette: industrial technology important weapon in educational arsenal
Think back on your education career.
How many classes did you take, and how many of them do you use in your daily life?
Someone in journalism is lucky — there is no subject he or she is unlikely to encounter in the course of a media career.
But day-to-day skills such as typing, grammar, spelling and composition are the nuts and bolts of the daily work routine.
For most of us, however, advanced academic classes are only a distant memory.
The rub is, younger students don’t know, looking forward, which ones they will need.
Standards-based education — common-core and other examples of “teaching to the test” — have been attempted as a means for improving our learning system, but too often it’s at the expense of “practical” classes such as life skills.
That’s why it was encouraging to see the return of industrial tech classes to Cambridge High School.
They were dropped a few years ago in favor of expanded agricultural offerings, but both programs will, in truth, form a complementary education for CHS graduates.
“A lot of what I’m teaching are life skills, something kids can use to be more self-sufficient,” Dexter Dodson told reporter Lorri Sughroue for Thursday’s story.
How true that is.
Even someone with a job requiring an advanced academic degree needs to know how tires are rotated, what it takes to properly apply a coat of paint and which end of a circular saw is most dangerous.
Doctors and college professionals don’t enjoy being held hostage by mechanics or plumbers. Too many women, unfortunately, feel like they are taken advantage of because of a perceived lack of technical knowledge, a problem Dodson hopes to help solve.
On the other end of the spectrum, skilled technicians and trade workers can expect to find themselves in increasing demand, with commensurate salaries as a result.
As manufacturing and service industries become more and more automated, qualified technicians and troubleshooters will become more and more important.
Dodson has the right attitude about his own profession as well, as reported in this week’s story.
“There’s a shortage of industrial tech teachers, so it would be great if I could inspire one or two to teach,” he said.
We all depend on professionals who need a traditional academic education to qualify for their jobs.
But it takes skilled people at all levels to keep our homes and careers running smoothly, and we will be depending on them more and more.