Too snobby for shop
With a few years of experience, an auto mechanic at a dealership can earn $80,000 a year. But high schools are eliminating auto shop classes. The equipment is costly, industrial tech (shop) teachers are hard to find and students’ schedules are filled with college-prep classes. Students assume the only way to make a living is to go to college, but many don’t have the motivation or the academic skills to earn a college degree. Only about half of students who enroll in college ever earn a degree; most of those who graduate won’t be earning $80,000 a year.
Community colleges are picking up the slack. But students often enter with no hands-on skills: They don’t know how to change the oil, or how big a 13 mm wrench is. And many can’t read well enough to understand the manual or use the diagnostic data on the computer screen. Qualifying for a skilled trade is more demanding than qualifying for most colleges.
Many slacker students, bored and frustrated by college-prep courses, would work much harder on reading and math if they knew what they had to do to get an $80,000-a-year job. But the snobbery of the times tells students they have to sit in a classroom for 16 years — with or without learning anything — to earn a living.