Special interests crush the industrial arts



Why is Maine’s K-12 educational institution so hostile to giving students more and better opportunities to learn a trade?

This ingrained opposition to the industrial arts – “studio class” – is difficult to understand, given the obvious benefits of having more career options for Maine students. Learning a job in high demand can be the key to keeping many of these children in Maine and starting families. Perhaps even single income households, allowing one parent to devote full time to raising children.

Hardly a day goes by without hearing terrible warnings about the impending demographic winter in Maine. So why wouldn’t we want to encourage industrial arts education in middle and high school, knowing that these courses are the ticket to great careers for the next generation of Mainers?

Unfortunately, the bosses of the teachers’ unions and the educational institution have a very different point of view. Devoured by academic elitism, they harbor a palpable contempt for the professions. That’s why you see so much pressure on high school students to get a bachelor’s degree in four years – and all the debt and indoctrination that comes with those programs.

In June of this year, during the last days of the legislative session, we saw an exhibition of the influence that union bosses exert in the State House. They have shown their political might to ensure that the failing K-12 monopoly continues to hurt our children and grandchildren.

I admit that I had no idea how high the barriers are that prevent qualified blue colored professionals from entering the classroom. Turns out, if the principal of your public high school wants to hire a successful entrepreneur from your community to teach industrial arts part-time, good luck.

Under current law, your local electrical contractor – or caterer or florist or auto technician or furniture maker – must have a four-year bachelor’s degree majoring in “education” before they can step foot in the classroom. It doesn’t matter that the future teacher has proven himself in the real world beyond high school. What matters to the bosses of teachers’ unions is the ability of a potential instructor to endure countless hours of classroom instruction on the latest fads in teaching methodology.

My friend and colleague, GOP Representative Nate Wadsworth de Hiram, sponsored a bill to address this legalistic nonsense. “A law to create an additional path to certify industrial arts teachers to promote career and technical subjects in schools in Maine” (LD 1369) was a bipartisan bill with more Democratic co-sponsors than Republican co-sponsors. It would have reduced the required four years of college teacher training to two years.

A hardly radical proposal.

It went to a vote in the House on June 6 and passed by a comfortable margin of 76 to 65. Then the Senate passed the bill by a margin of 26 to 9.

It was then that the union bosses began to twist their arms. Some arms of lawmakers have come out of their sockets.

When LD 1369 returned to the House for final adoption on June 11, the “no” votes prevailed 73 to 69. All of the reversed votes were Democrats who succumbed to intimidation from union bosses.

The enactment of this bill would have been a small step towards restoring education in Maine. As it stands, the government-run K-12 education monopoly is failing, despite the injection of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year. With spending increasing year on year – as K-12 enrollments continue to decline – how is it possible that half of Maine’s high school graduates who apply for admission to community colleges have need to take remedial lessons?

Imagine that. With a high school diploma in hand, they’re not prepared for entry-level courses at your local community college. These students and their parents were deceived. Children who want to learn a trade are handicapped by the system even before they get to the local vocational college.

This is unacceptable.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to make sure they have viable career options. If they want to learn a trade rather than pursue an expensive four-year college degree, let’s encourage that option instead of throwing up roadblocks.

It will require strong lawmakers, ready to push back the academic elitists and entrenched Augusta educational bureaucracy.

Lawrence Lockman (R-Bradley) is serving his fourth term in the Maine House of Representatives. He is co-founder and president of the Maine First Project, a conservative non-profit organization. It can be reached [email protected]

” Previous

Next ”

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.