Does your local schools still have wood shop class? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 26 Old 05-08-2010, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Does your local schools still have wood shop class?

Our local schools did away with wood shop several years ago. This, in my opinion, is one of the biggest mistakes they have made. I learned all my shop safety and was introduced to the different tools in wood shop. It was available for me to take two years.

Did other school districts take it away or does your district still have wood shop in school?

Mark
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post #2 of 26 Old 05-08-2010, 05:09 PM
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Just thank the lawyers. It's now too cost prohibitive to buy the insurance to run a wood shop program.

The community college system is dealing with adults and have the ability to force students into signing documents that they understand the dangers.

(BTW - I have seen a student thrown out of a WW class for her own safety.)

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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post #3 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 09:59 AM
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Our school has an excellent woodshop. Cad drawing tools and great teachers. They also have a plasma cutter & paint booth. As a School Board member I strongly support all aspects of education. Shop class crosses lines into math & english as well.
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post #4 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 10:32 AM
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Ours does as well. It is pretty nice, they just bought a saw stop a few years ago and usually about once a year someone sets it off.
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post #5 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 10:32 AM
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Our local school does. But most of the tools are "unsafe" to use and locked down for insurance reasons. (I would not mind having most of that old iron) They still teach drafting and design, but not many big projects are built simply for the lack of tools to use. And the teacher is/never was a woodworker
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 11:05 AM
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[quote=Daren;132551 And the teacher is/never was a woodworker [/quote]
This sounds like the blind leading the blind.
Our school has a good shop and teacher, at least my kids and their friends think so.
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post #7 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 11:13 AM
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Ours does not and hasn't for years. I remember when I went to H.S. (1969-1973), we had Auto Shop, Print Shop, Drafting, Metal Shop, Woodshop and a class called Aircraft Construction which I took. We built and flew a plywood and fabric mono wing, open cockpit contraption called a Volksplane. The engine was a VW engine modified by our Auto Shop. Today there's none of that. Jim, I salute you for keeping industrial arts alive in your school system.
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post #8 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 11:15 AM
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I had Wood Shop in Jr. High School back in '98 and '99. When I went to highschool, the shop teacher started teaching highschool gymnastics. You could tell he didn't know anything about PE. He let the other gym teacher do most of everything. Needless to say, the shop program got scrapped.


Our shop program wasn't all that great. 9 week course. We mostly watched videos, spent two weeks drawing a slanting book shelf. Another two weeks laying it out on the wood. 1 day out of the whole semester did we actually use tools. The rest of the time we watched videos and sanded the slanting book shelf.
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post #9 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colt W. Knight View Post
I had Wood Shop in Jr. High School back in '98 and '99. When I went to highschool, the shop teacher started teaching highschool gymnastics. You could tell he didn't know anything about PE. He let the other gym teacher do most of everything. Needless to say, the shop program got scrapped.


Our shop program wasn't all that great. 9 week course. We mostly watched videos, spent two weeks drawing a slanting book shelf. Another two weeks laying it out on the wood. 1 day out of the whole semester did we actually use tools. The rest of the time we watched videos and sanded the slanting book shelf.
If you went to school in Kanawha County, then we went to the same county school system. I had two full years of shop in the mid to late 80's. That means that it dropped to just 9 weeks by the end of the 90's and then was totally scrapped.

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post #10 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 12:56 PM
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Like John above, when I went to school (grad '74), we had printing, drafting, metals, machine, woodworking, auto mechanics, auto body, and probably one I am forgetting. We actually had some shops in junior high in 7-9th grades. In 10th grade, you got to spend 6 weeks in each shop. In my junior and senior years I was able to take a year of machine shop, metal shop, two years of printing, and still have time for all the regular classes. In our senior year of printing, we did all the production work for whatever the school and teachers needed. I still have my brass hammer with a stainless steel handle I made in machine shop. Shortly after I graduated, most of the schools in northeast Ohio got rid of the shops. Now the kids have to go to regional vocation schools for anything shop related.
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post #11 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 12:59 PM
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most of the HS in my area still have wood shops. the particular HS i went to (Kewaskum) had enough different classes that you could take a new one each semester for the duration of your HS years. The teacher i had died a year or two after i graduated and was replaced by one of his former students. The school did drop all of it's auto programs but kept all of the wood and metal class'. The interest in those two subjects has remained strong in all the school districts in our area. The only problem is that shop class' are the most expensive electives a student can take. They make you pay a $20-30 fee for shop maintenance and then you have to buy your own supplies.

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post #12 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 02:28 PM
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I took cabinetmaking for all 4 years in High school. I graduated in 2003, and the teacher stayed until 2004 before retiring. They brought another teacher in, and basically stopped the cabinetmaking program beacuse he didn't know what was going on. The teacher I had was actually a wood worker. I still keep in touch with him, and love to see the things that come out of his shop.
It is a real shame that the schools do away with the program. I always said that I learned more in that class than any other class. I can actually use the things I learned in that class to do something usefull.
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post #13 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhals View Post
If you went to school in Kanawha County, then we went to the same county school system. I had two full years of shop in the mid to late 80's. That means that it dropped to just 9 weeks by the end of the 90's and then was totally scrapped.

Mark

South Charleston Jr. High School, and South Charleston High School.

My highschool didn't offer shop class. I did take photography/pottery though.


I was exposed to woodworking because my grandpa was an avid wood worker and my dad use to be. However, just about everything I learned was the hard way by screwing up lumber till I got it right. I would have loved to have had a real wood shop program at school.
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post #14 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 05:13 PM
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I took drafting, metal and woodworking and "power mechanics" (means rebuilding a B&S lawnmower engine). My old school system dropped all these in addition to automechanics and paint and body work. The theory was everyone would be college bound and business oriented. Now I work with allot of students in the alternative school and drop outs who would thrive in these environments if they had a chance-sad really.

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post #15 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 05:25 PM
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A local HS just auctioned off its' wood shop, and I never heard about it until I saw it in the local CL ads. They don't test shop in a standardized test, and when your school is rated by the state on those results those classes just get the axe for more that are on the test.

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post #16 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 05:43 PM
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We had Industrial arts, The last half of the year we could do some bigger projects such as a gun rack or a book shelf. That was in 95 when I graduated. My oldests (15) school has woodshop and beginning carprentry, drafting and design, then he has to go to the vocational school for anything further. My shop teacher was tuff on safety, he would say see what happens when you get careless and show us the eight fingers he still had.
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post #17 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colt W. Knight View Post
South Charleston Jr. High School, and South Charleston High School.

My highschool didn't offer shop class. I did take photography/pottery though.


I was exposed to woodworking because my grandpa was an avid wood worker and my dad use to be. However, just about everything I learned was the hard way by screwing up lumber till I got it right. I would have loved to have had a real wood shop program at school.
I went to Dunbar Junior high where we had shop class and Dunbar High School where I had a shop class. You might be too young to remember Dunbar High School, LOL. It was closed and consolidated with South Charleston High School. Mr. Robinson was my shop teacher in case you ended up having him sometime after Dunbar High School closed.

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post #18 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Av8rTx View Post
The theory was everyone would be college bound and business oriented.
That is the downfall of education in this country in my opinion. Not everyone is geared toward college. There are many people that are great with their hands, but not college material. Those type of people are the ones we need as plant operators, auto mechanics, carpenters, etc.

We are basically leaving the non college material kids out to hang. So much for "No Child Left Behind."

Mark
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post #19 of 26 Old 05-09-2010, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhals View Post
That is the downfall of education in this country in my opinion. Not everyone is geared toward college. There are many people that are great with their hands, but not college material. Those type of people are the ones we need as plant operators, auto mechanics, carpenters, etc.

We are basically leaving the non college material kids out to hang. So much for "No Child Left Behind."

Mark
You are 101% correct!! And that's why we don't make sh!t in this country anymore. We have become a bunch of service oriented geeks after giving away our manufacturing capabilities to foreign countries.
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post #20 of 26 Old 05-10-2010, 11:43 PM
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I was hesitant to respond to this one because I lived this topic for so long. I taught Technology Education/Industrial Arts/Shop for 36 years. In the last part of my career I was the curriculum coordinator for my district; a large suburban PA school system with 13 schools and about 10,000 students.

When I started teaching high school in 1972, we had a huge Industrial Arts (IA) program. At that time the high school housed over 3000 students and had a metal shop, two wood shops, two drafting rooms, two power mechanics (engines) shops, an electric shop and a print shop. As the years went by the student population went down but the enrollment of IA dropped even more. Parents and students were pursuing more academic electives with college in mind.

In the 80's and 90's Industrial Arts made the national transition to Technology Education. Some districts were in the forefront of this and many lagged behind. More technology and computers were injected into the curriculum. Wood and metal was combined into Manufacturing and Construction technology, print shop and drafting was changed to Communication Technology and electronics and power/energy/engines morphed into Power Technology.

Many districts had slight variations on these themes and many just did their own thing. That is the direction things have taken, though, and without the change to technology, I really don't think traditional wood, metal, print and electric shops would have survived, at least not in my area. School boards and administrators tired of traditional 'shop'.

On top of this turmoil, school boards are always looking for ways to cut costs and many board members are not as enlightened as our friend Jim Douglas. In my district there were/are several members who were ruthless about destroying the program. In some surrounding districts they succeeded by crippling the programs down to the point where they would just barely meet state standards.

The 'Why" was simply costs. When a district sets up a standard classroom, it is nowhere nearly as expensive as setting up a 'shop' or what we would currently call a Tech Ed Lab. They dont have to pay for a Powermatic planer, remote power shut-offs all around the room, a dust collection system, an expensive table saw, etc. Nor does the district have to pay for the considerable annual cost of shop supplies.

When I was first put in charge of the program the high school was down to six teachers and five labs - wood, drafting, electronics, graphic arts and power tech. They had just lowered the yearly supply/equipment budget to about $15,000 total and shortly afterward arbitrarily cut that to $13k. To replace broken/worn equipment, buy wood, project parts, software (we had a full CAD lab, graphics lab and other computers) etc., was really tough with that amount of money.

Compounding the problem was that we have a regional vocational school. Some school board members could not be convinced that the Tech Ed program was not being duplicated by the vocational school, no matter how often we would explain the differences in purposes, facilities and curriculum. Basically, the vocational school was for job training and we were building skills for students in general education to give them a chance to learn about processes, tools, etc.

The middle school program was a different story. In PA, a middle school Tech Ed program is mandatory. What the state doesn't spell out is how extensive it should be. At our district, all the kids in grades 6-8 get Tech Ed for every other day for half the year. This is more than the kids get in many districts. From grades 9 and up, Tech Ed is an elective course. That parents want to steer their kids toward academic subjects, whether they are college material or not, really hurt enrollment.

Also, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) with it's stress on math and writing/reading skills above all else, has lead schools to cut their focus on other areas, really hurting Tech Ed/ shop classes (along with art, home economics, etc.). Ironically, The Tech Ed classes include a lot of math, critical thinking skills and problem solving - all of which help students with the standardized tests.

I'm going on and on. For those interested, here's a link to the ITEEA's (International Technology and Engineering Educator's Association) program guide: http://www.iteea.org/TAA/PDFs/Execsum.pdf You can see for yourself the direction 'shop' is heading in. As you can tell by the name of the organization, engineering is being injected into the curriculum. It was until recently known as ITEA (International Technology Education Association) and once was the Industrial Arts Association.

I agree that it is a gross injustice not to give school students an experience using tools and learning to use them safely. Some kids get out of some schools not knowing what a screwdriver is, while having calculus knowledge they may never use.

Oddly, one thing I never heard administrators or school board members complain about was the cost of insurance. I suppose the 'shops' weren't itemized but were part of a blanket district insurance policy. Also, we had a pretty good student safety record.

As advice: Please don't hesitate to let your local school board members know that you support your school's Tech Ed program (or whatever your district might call it - there are variations). They constantly get hammered on cutting taxes and the 'shops' are a tempting target to cut. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Bill
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