Mandatory shop class? Lee proposes vocational training for all students

After Republican Bill Lee’s previous ad touting “20-year solutions” for education and health care became the target of Democratic rival Karl Dean, the Franklin businessman has released a new spot offering some more specifics: He appears to want to require vocational training for all students in Tennessee.

“Every student should have at least some vocational training. It might mean welding. It might mean coding. It might mean ag,” Lee says in the ad. “But we’ve got to start our kids out early. High school, middle school.”

Here’s a full transcript of the ad:

Our schools need to look a whole lot different. Even though our company was named a best place to work, we still have a hard time filling jobs in the trades. Every student should have at least some vocational training. It might mean welding. It might mean coding. It might mean Ag. But we’ve got to start our kids out early. High school, middle school. When I’m governor, they’re not just going to be different, they’re going to be better.

17 Responses to Mandatory shop class? Lee proposes vocational training for all students

  • James White says:

    Why don’t they just EDUCATE the children and let Business pay for the VOCATION ?

  • Michael Lottman says:

    Oh yes–by all means let’s go back to those golden days of yesteryear, when everyone had to take a spot of mechanical drawing–and home ec as well. But a little knowledge is these areas doesn’t really help anyone, not the student or the employer looking for a welder or even the future housewife or househusband. The need today is not to treat vocational or technical training as a lesser course of instruction, to try and match it up with real-world needs in business and industry, and also to include a solid offering in academic areas (reading, writing, citizenship) that are necessary whatever path a student chooses. Stop steering everyone into community or even four-year colleges when many students don’t want or are not oriented to that particular experience.

    • Cannoneer2 says:

      I have worked as a scientist for nearly 30 years. I can tell you that one of the most useful classes that I ever took to prepare for my profession was in High School. Ag Mechanics taught electric wiring, plumbing, and small engine repair among other things. Later, when I needed to plumb hydrogen piping between mass spectrometers and their gas source, I had no problem getting the job done.. I don’t have to call an electrician every time a light switch needs replacing either. There are two examples of many that I could provide. The current class structure would need to be adjusted, but I think this is a great idea.

  • MarLE says:

    What we really need is a mandatory class on the IRS form 1040. The reason people believe so many lies is that they don’t have a clue how the government treats their income (and that of other filers as well). Each of those 44 lines has a remarkably important meaning and EVERY American has a duty to know their significance.

    • Cannoneer2 says:

      The IRS Form 1040 needs to be scrapped, possibly along with the IRS itself. However, I see the point that people need to understand how government finance and taxes work.

      • MarLE says:

        Yes…whether the way you comply is called Form X…..each of the current lines demonstrates the government’s rationale for each dollar they take or let you keep. And it shows just how much pandering is going on…..leaving some to pay more, and others less on the exact same level of earnings. Then when politicians tell you what a great job they did in the Tax Bill you’d actually know the truth of it all. Between H&R Block (or similar) and Electronic filing no one knows or understands hardly anything.

  • Lance Granger says:

    I have supported vo-tech since I was in high school in the 1960’s. Not every one is college inclined, some are trade oriented and those students should be given an opportunity to explore those avenues. The necessary academics must also be adhered to as well in the vo-tech training platform. How many times have you needed some one in the trades field to fix your house or car. Knowing a trade is as important as any other profession. Support vo-tech training in highg school.

  • Brenda Palmer says:

    Bill Lee shows his lack of knowledge and preparation to be governor with this idea. The education system does not call it vocational education with shop and home EC. Classes are offered to prepare students for the types of jobs they will face and the fact there will not be on job that lasts 50 years, rather many jobs as our economy and society change. There are many partnerships between public schools and businesses including vehicle dealerships, utilities, engineering firms, agriculture and others. Equipping students with reading, basic math and expression skills will enable them to learn what employers require.

  • James White says:

    You know, I really want to vote for Bill Lee, but More Government in education is Not a conservative trait. If he keeps up promoting these type of ideas, he will Not get my vote. Teach the children to think, let the private industry do their own training. Don;t use my tax money for such nonsense.

    • MarLE says:

      If this is intended to be an orientation to working with you hands and using and valuing talents that can serve you for a lifetime no matter how technology changes then that would be useful. It is at least as useful as BAND or music or art. Anyone object to those? But I personally would toss all of those for a financial course or two and definitely one that educates them on their financial relationship with their government who has the power to confiscate. Teach them the 1040

      • James White says:

        I object to Band, Art, Sports. Let PRIVATE businesses do that

        • MarLE says:

          I believe these areas (art, music, sports and vocational) are to introduce these areas of potential unrecognized talents not to develop them to a point where they could be hired and spare an employer from “having to do that”. If you didn’t grow up in a home that opened up these possible avenues of success in life then the school was giving you access. All of this should not be crowding out academics.

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  • Smasher says:

    In the UK when I lived there it seemed obvious why the break point to going to College (Vocational 2 year programs) or Uni (4 year Type schools) is at 16 not 18. Why do we waste time on integrating the last two years? Football programs? Frankly its time to admit not so many people will need a University education. Frankly most of us don’t and cant afford one..we need affordable continuous education to keep up with job skills.

  • Donna Locke says:

    I voted for Lee but was not happy about it. It was more of a vote against Dean.

    I oppose school vouchers. I’m a fan of everyone’s learning a trade while young, in conjunction with academics, even if a person plans to go to four-year college and take a different route. Everyone is learning a trade in a sense in computer classes, but other skills are needed to keep the world and one’s own life going. It would be difficult to squeeze all this in. I have a granddaughter in public high school now, and she already carries a heavy load.

  • Nick Ragsdale says:

    I saw an article about Takl and how individuals were hiring someone to come in and hang a picture frame on a wall or assemble simple furniture because they didn’t know how. A basic shop class where students learn how to use basic hand tools is a great idea. The other benefit is the personal pride one gets when they have built or fixed something themselves. Looks like a double win to me.

    • Donna Locke says:

      I lived in an apartment complex when I was in my very early twenties, and I’ve never forgotten the day my new, young, female neighbor came over and said all of her doorknobs were falling off and “what kind of apartment complex is this?”. She had no idea you could take a small screwdriver and tighten the screws.

      My dad was a construction worker and I had grown up around tools and watching him fix things, but I came to realize many people my age, especially the girls, had no clue and had grown up without basic knowledge, such as knowing how to turn the water flow off in the bathroom, etc.

      Schools my kids and grandkids have attended have offered basic life skills courses. My son also took cooking classes in school, although he did it just to eat the food. However, when he lost his IT job to an imported foreign worker (don’t get me started), he was able to cook good suppers for his wife and two kids while he was home and looking for another job, to the extent that his wife wanted him to stay home forever.

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