When I went to school, we had the option to take "electives" including Home Economics (cooking, sewing, budgeting, finances, etc.), auto mechanics (basics of car maintenance), building trades (seriously, if you own a home, you need this), agriculture (care and processing of farm animals and crops). We were all encouraged to take advantage of "real life education". I took a semester of auto mechanics, a semester of building trades and a semester of home ec. I can do most auto repairs, run basic wiring and plumbing, replace lighting and plumbing fixtures, frame, drywall, cook, can, budget, and figure taxes (I've never paid to have my taxes done and I've never been audited...yet.)
While I had a pretty well-rounded high school education, most of the credit goes to my folks. Mom and Poppy never discouraged me from seeking knowledge, especially if it was useful. And much of my practical education came from my parents and grandmas. I've told the story of my first car, I worked years of odd jobs and saved every penny I earned. I paid $2500 cash for my 1965 Mustang. And Poppy took the keys until we went over every inch of it, engine and transmission, and he was satisfied I knew how to take care of it. I rotated my own tires, changed my own oil, belts and hoses. I still do all of my own vehicle maintenance.
Every house I lived in growing up was a "handyman special". We were very very low income blue collar, but always owned instead of rented. The first house was purchased from an old farmer for $1000 cash and a $10,000 builder's loan. Two bedroom, one bath, less than 1000 sq ft. Poppy later added a master suite, increasing the square footage to 1200. Total investment was $35,000, they sold it a few years ago after 20 years of being rental property for $98,000. I was too young to do much on that one but fetch tools and carry trash, but the next one was different. The home they're still living in was housing for various fauna out in an old wheat field. Birds nested in the kitchen cabinets and there was animal poop everywhere. When Poppy took mom out to see it, she almost had him committed. Understand, he was working full time and going to college part time and wanting to move this house in next door and work on it in his "spare time". I was 12 when he bought it and 14 when we finally moved into it. This is the house where I got my training. I helped tear out walls, move walls, re frame, pull up flooring, lay flooring, hang drywall, mud and tape and texture, paint and wallpaper, hang cabinets, install plumbing and electrical, pull wires, blow insulation.... every time I walk into that house, I can see something I helped build. I love that house. Two years after he retired, Poppy drew up plans, got a permit, and proceeded to build mom's fantasy master suite, 1000 square feet of luxury and solitude. He finished it in 6 months. She still smiles every time she walks into it. This house, total investment of $60,000, was appraised last year at $148,000. As an adult, I've always owned, never rented, and always homes that I could easily afford and work on to make better. I bless my parents for that part of my education.
Shortly after I graduated, the shift started. College prep was the only field of study promoted, and all the other programs were eventually eliminated from the budget. Lack of interest? Lack of promotion? I'm not sure, but suddenly students were expected to study for two goals: passing standardized tests and going to college. A college education was the end-all and be-all. What was forgotten were all the students who weren't interested in college; whose talents and interests fell elsewhere. For 30 years, a whole segment of society was ignored as Higher Education was shoved down every student's throat. Now we see the damage, the education bubble is about to burst, we have a couple of generations of high-debt, educated people with no skills, and a dearth of skilled workers. God bless Mike Rowe for bringing the sexy back to the skilled trades. We're slowly seeing a shift in the popularity of trade schools and apprenticeships, although high schools are still woefully under serving young people who aren't interested in a BS in Disgruntled Minority Feminine-ish Studies at an overpriced university. Hopefully, when the education bubble bursts, things will change.
In the meantime, Young People of America, if you're waking up to the reality that your practical education has been taken from you in exchange for a mountain of debt and a useless degree, look around you. Find one of us older Americans who you used to mock for being uneducated and unenlightened. If you ask nicely, maybe apologize for being a Liberal twunt, we can share all sorts of amazingly useful skills and information with you. And we might even slip in a much needed lesson in self-reliance, Liberty and the U. S. Constitution. You'd be amazed at what you don't know.
I was about 14 or 15 when Mom took me aside and said; "Son, you're not too good lookin', you're not very smart, and the good Lord knows you'll never have much money. I'm gonna teach you how to cook, clean, sew, take care of a home, and you're Dad'll teach you the other stuff a man needs to know. It may be a while till you find the right woman." She was right, And they did.
My freshman year in high-school my "counselor" dropped the General Shop class I had signed up to take and replaced it with a study hall.
He told me "You're going to college, and shop is for dummies".
I was pretty upset when I got home, and Mom said "Wait until your Father gets home", and it was the first time she ever said it in a "good" way.
My Dad was a Tool and Die Maker, and although proud that I was going to college, just knew that there were certain things a man should know how to do.
He was outraged, and went to "talk" to my counselor.
I had my shop class back on my schedule the next day.....
My parents always told us kids, what ever you do, be it a garbage hauler or a brain surgeon, be the damn best at what you do. I took every shop class offered in Jr High and Sr High and went on and became a nurse. A practical degree to be sure. I also have an associates in electronics. Nice thing, I can repair my truck, my house, garden and can foodstuffs and sew on my own damn buttons, hem trousers, and not starve. Growing up on a farm didn't hurt, I can raise and process my own meat.
We used to have all of that, here in the ignorant fly over states. It was called "Industrial arts", "Home economics", and "Ag". But then progtards came along and said all of that was useless, computers are the wave of the future and we started importing Asians to deal with the computer jobs which hire Mexicans to mow their lawns......
P.S. where were you when I was growing up Angel? I would have latched on to you like white on rice....
I think most of us would have, Cederq!
I was the dorky awkward girl with red curly hair and coke bottle bottom glasses who read too much, was too shy to talk to boys, and had Poppy who made sure I didn't.
Y'all wouldn't have looked at me twice.
Want to bet?
Y'all are all very sweet.
That's because we remember what it was like to be dorky/geeky/nerdy with the "wrong" hair.
I never played sports, so I was automatically an outcast until I hooked up with other people like me who did things like ran the "Pep Club", worked on the operettas the school produced, and were members of the Ham Radio club.
While the jocks got old and fat and did construction jobs, we went on to college and invented things like computers and cellphones.
If I'd been a few years older, I probably would have gone to work at NASA during their big build-up for the Moon program.....
I liked the awkward, dorky girls with coke bottom glasses, those were the real girls (women) not the ever so popular teenage sluts and whores that all the football team enjoyed. And, I would have manned up and asked your dad straight out if I could take you on a date and have you back on the front porch at 9:59 iffin' he said to have her home by 10:00, and, no arguments form you to stay out later. I was the geek, farm boy who at 13, bucked 175# alfalfa on a hay farm.
Same situation over this side of the pond only we're not moving out of it but simply remain static. The scum that govern us make all of the right noises but then end up doing absolutely nothing of any real use. We now have coming up two generations of young people with degrees in 'Media Studies', 'Tourism', 'Event Management', 'Sports Studies' and 'Sociology!!!' etc. yet with no practical skills or understanding of how the real world works. And other than flipping hamburgers or filling pizza crusts they have very few job prospects either and they come with debts for their so called education that they will never be able to pay so the cost of which will eventually fall upon shoulders of that diminishing group of productive tax payers who end up having to bear the weight of the whole rotten system.
I've been divorced for more than 20 years. In that time, I have dated a number of divorced women who had teenagers, particularly sons. Almost without exception, those sons are useless. They not only didn't know how to do any kind of household repair, but they had no inclination to even want to learn how to do those things.
As I was repairing one gal's toilet one time (replacing the ball-cock and flush valve), I said to her son, "You should be learning how to do this." He said he wasn't interested in learning it. I said, "Presumably, someday you'll be living on your own (I doubt that, now) and you'll have to know how to do this." He said he would call a plumber. I said, "A plumber will charge you $150 to do this, something you could do yourself for less than $20." He said, "So?" I said, "Do you know how many video games you could have bought for that $150, rather than spend it on the plumber?" Then he started to think about it, but still wasn't interested in learning. Sheesh.
Occasionally, I find a teenager who knows how to fix things, but rarely. They can all type really fast with their thumbs on their cell phones, but I don't know how useful that will be when they need to fix something, especially after they've spent all of their money on their cellphone!
Oh, but Bernie Sanders is gonna give all the kids FREE college!
I can just imagine how that's gonna totally hose the college curriculums, not to mention piss off the ones with a mountain of college loans and degrees in Recreation Management.
But yeah, self-taught plumber and spark-trician. Notsomuch dry-waller and trim carpenter. But the house is mine, paid for and still very much a project in-work.
My senior year in high school (Class of 1969), I took a course in typing and another in a sort of semi-shorthand (not the real kind, but it made taking notes a lot faster). Both served me well in college. Some professors went at breakneck speed in lectures that were hard enough (engineering, etc.). But I made money typing papers for other guys in my dorm. Beer!
Back then, we had various Shop classes. One of the things we made was a pen-holder with a decorative swordfish we cast with aluminum and mounted on a copper base that was made from a copper sheet we used a big press to bend into place. If nothing else, OSHA nannies would have had conniption fits about everything we did in that class. But the best thing about it happened decades later. When my father died in 2001, I found out that he had kept that pen-holder on his desk until he retired and then in his den. Yeah, I'm crying now, too.
Maybe that education 'shift' was when higher education became an industry?
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