Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (9/1)

It’s Not Your Grandfather’s – It’s High-Tech

By Mike Porcelli

Shop Class is coming back…at least I hope it is.

Last month I attended the City & State Education Summit, featuring some of the leading voices on education in New York.

In his keynote address, School Chancellor David Banks announced his intention to bring back CTE – Career & Technical Education programs – the modern version of trade education, or what I call: ‘the other side of education,’ by saying, ‘It’s Not Your Grandfather’s CTE.’

His phrasing immediately got my attention, because the reference to grandfathers in the title of this column, was selected a week before the conference.

When I heard Chancellor Banks stress “It’s not your grandfather’s CTE,” I immediately thought, he understands modern CTE must necessarily be high-tech, because all trades now use technology extensively.

At least, I hope he understands, and acts accordingly.

Everything the Chancellor said, indicated he understands the importance of trade training for students who are suited for and desire it, and he has plans to make shop classes available to all who can benefit from them.

He indicated that the destruction of trade training programs over the past six decades, was misguided and destructive to many students.

It absolutely was, resulting in millions of students being under-educated by schools that deprived them of the training they needed.

Hopefully, the restoration of CTE will reduce the number of students forced into programs that don’t match their talents, desires and ambitions, leading to their poor grades, high drop-out rates, low employability and high frustration.

This combination of low skills and high frustration in students deprived of their best options, is a major cause of mental, emotional and economic distress.

When students do not have the opportunity to develop their natural talents, they will be less employable, less productive and less satisfied than those allowed to develop their potential.

Our education system is obligated to provide all students the best training options based on their abilities and needs.

Hopefully, Chancellor Banks and his administration can increase the availability of CTE programs, so that all students who need them can take advantage of them.

The goal of restoring CTE poses a commendable challenge for Banks.

For the sake of his students, I hope he is successful – but he must be held accountable.

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 is a life-long mechanic, adjunct professor and host of Autolab Radio.

He is committed to restoring trade education in schools before it’s too late.

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