Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (1/5)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

Trade ed New Year’s resolutions

By Mike Porcelli

Every New Year, most of us make resolutions. This year, what should we resolve to do about trade education? Hopefully, we can agree to implement the ideas expressed here each week.

In the years I’ve been advocating for CTE, I’ve discovered that I am not alone.

Every day, more people are speaking out on the need to bring back trade education.

The leading voice among them is Mike Rowe, who I call “the patron saint of trade education.”

His 20-year media campaign has a positive impact on many who are starting to understand the importance of CTE.

Mayor Eric Adams, DOE Commissioner David Banks and many of their staff members have stated that they are bringing back modernized CTE programs. 

But can they do it in time to meet all students’ needs? Not without private sector help.

One of the most gratifying things I’ve discovered is the number of philanthropic leaders who are denouncing the despicable state of our inner-city schools and promoting CTE as a prime solution to the problem.

Many of those providing private funding to restore trade education have been highlighted here. But are those programs as effective as they could be? Not yet.

A major factor that led to my current work to restore trade education was a 2016 article by former mayor Mike Bloomberg and Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, entitled, “The Skills Schools Aren’t Teaching But Must,” in which they wrote: “Economic growth depends on having a strong middle class open to all Americans, not just college graduates… That’s why vocational education is crucial.” This is even more true today.

They went on to explain how the solution to most of our social and economic problems is training young people for good jobs by reinventing vocational education.

Implementing those ideas is even more crucial today, especially after the decline in education performance because of the learning losses resulting from the pandemic.

In his recent interviews and speeches, Jamie Dimon refers to the “national catastrophe in American education.”

Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase.

He talks about the deplorable state of our schools, and constantly refers to the low inner city graduation rates, and how poorly students who do graduate are prepared for jobs or college.

He outlines his philanthropic efforts to restore trade education and encourages other business and political leaders to also provide more support for such programs.

In response to the ideas Bloomberg & Dimon expressed six years ago, I wrote: The question now is: will school systems make the changes required to bring back the excellent job training programs they offered in the past – with new technologies to train workers for the future?

My answer then was… I hope so.

My hope now is that the public and private sectors not just resolve to provide modern CTE programs for every student who can most benefit from them, but they do it this year.

Let’s resolve to teach: The skills schools aren’t teaching but must… now.

Academic & Trade Education are Two Sides of a Coin. This column explores the impact of CTE programs on students, society, and the economy.

Mike Porcelli: life-long mechanic, adjunct professor, and host of Autolab Radio, is committed to restoring trade education in schools before it’s too late. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-porcelli-master-mechanic-allasecerts/ 

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