Vocational education may be more important than ever.
Present economic swings make occupational and subsistence training most essential. However, a number of school systems are considering the elimination of technical classes as an easy budget-cutting move.
Already, many districts have stricken industrial arts, typically referred to as woodworking and mechanical drawing, from curricula. Agricultural education has received the axe in a few locales, and is receiving too much talk in others.
Admittedly, the farm population doesn’t make up a substantial part of the population as it has in the past. Eighty years ago adding a vo-ag department to a school was a really big deal. The state offered funding for such moves, and entire communities were excited.
Now, it is the complete opposite, with fewer students having even the vaguest idea of what farm life is like. Thus, the need arises for vo-ag and becomes even more justified.
Perhaps the system does need tweaking, but not elimination of these worthwhile courses. We may have many of our acquaintances in the occupational field on our back for that statement, but programs must be justified from all realms, to merit their fair share of tax dollars supporting them.
People need to know how to work with their hands, other than just punching computer keys and cell phones. Although enrollment in carpentry was not always large, those in the course learned the basics of how to make something useful. They could fix the cupboard shelf, put a screw in the rocker and replace a door knob.
Likewise it is with agricultural curriculums. Traditional poultry, dairy, meat animal and grain production classes remain important; not so much designed to maximize output, but rather to inform consumers.
With all modern media, farmers can learn production techniques with the flip of a switch. However, unbelievably, there are members of the general public who don’t know hot wings come from a chicken, milk comes from a cow, steak comes from a steer and bread comes from wheat. They should.
Furthermore, greenhouse classes help boys and girls learn not just how to grow flowers but what it takes to care for lawns, gardens, etc. Same goes for small engine
classes; it’s not so much repairing the lawnmower as it is regularly checking the oil, sharpening the blade, and so forth.
Importance of record keeping and leadership skills, so much a part of vo-ag, through the FFA, must not be overlooked. It’s a scary reality that many people don’t know how to keep track of their money, the government included. Additionally, few people can
conduct business at a club meeting. They need to know how to do both.
Orders are given in Ephesians 4:28: “Let him do honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” It is also noted in Proverbs 23:23: “Buy truth, buy wisdom, buy education, and buy insight.” Best summary of advice comes in First Timothy 4:11: “Enjoin and teach these things.”