Friday, October 28, 2011

Wisconsinites don't need none of that fancy book learnin'

The Governor, Scott Walker (R), is systematically trying to destroy public and higher education in the formerly great state of Wisconsin because it evidently costs too much to educate people.  The latest:

High schools would be allowed to drop math and English graduation requirements to set up vocational-only diplomas under a bill being backed by Gov. Scott Walker.

The plan in the governor's special session on jobs would let local school boards decide their own curricula and create vocational diplomas that carry the same weight as regular high school degrees. Oshkosh Assembly Republican Michelle Litjens supported the change at a public hearing. She says right now students don't always see a connection between the classes they're taking and the labor market, "And sometimes they're right. For the student who doesn't have the desire to pursue a higher education, who just doesn't want to sit still in an English class anymore, why are they there?"

Anyone see problems with this?  While I support vocational education (there's certainly nothing wrong with being a skilled trades person), don't they need some minimal reading, writing, and math skills too?  Unless you're just slinging fries in a fast food restaurant with picture buttons on the cash register, most jobs require some basic literacy and critical thinking skills (despite what most people think, math is not simply a set of non-relevant computational skills, it's about learning how to think logically to solve problems).

Do electricians ever use math?  You got a string of outlets with so many 110 V appliances plugged into it each drawing so many watts of electricity and you have to figure out a proper amperage for your circuit breaker.  No math there.  Do office workers need English skills?  No, joust type up those document any way u want and the spell checker will ketch any problemas, write?  Do auto technicians need to read well?  Nah, those repair manuals are mostly pictures anyway.

We all know that 16 year olds know exactly what they'll need for the rest of their life too, don't we?  They're perfectly capable of deciding on a career track that will doom them to never be able to succeed in college without a couple of years of remedial coursework at the local community college (assuming we're still around because the state and county keep cutting our funding year after year after year).

I am becoming more and more convinced that the political upper class in this country does not want an educated electorate.  It is easier, after all, to manipulate uneducated people with populist scaremongering.

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