are typically taught together. Common
• Auto Repair
• Technical Drawing
• Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
• Small Engines
The Case for Shop Class
Of these courses, woodworking, met-
alworking, auto repair, and technical
drawing are almost always included in
typical programs to varying degrees.
Forbes reported in 2012 that the Los
Angeles Unified School District had
eliminated 90% of its shop classes. 1 The
same story is told in countless news stories across the country. If you are in or
near a major city, you have likely seen it
for yourself. Money flows to college prep
courses, and the typical trade classes do
not warrant the significant investment
for most school boards to continue supporting them.
This line of thinking is based on four
1) Everyone can and should get a four-
year college degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 27% of jobs required an Associate’s degree or higher to apply. Only 23%
required a bachelor’s degree or higher. 2
Like any investment, college costs and
2) A college degree is required in order
the time to get a degree must be weighed
against the benefits. I am not against col-
lege. I’m only saying we shouldn’t assume
everyone must go.
to earn a good wage.
In the April 2014 Wall Street Journal, article entitled “Welders Make $150,000?
Bring Back Shop Class” 3 the author cited
numerous examples of very high wages
for skilled tradesmen, with many earning
six-digit salaries. I know a number of
them myself. While there is no guarantee
of this, just ask a recent college gradu-
ate whether they were guaranteed a high
paying job upon graduation.
3) Kids do not need hands-on skills developed through shop class if they plan
to attend college and obtain a degree.
Manual competence is often used to describe the type of skills developed in shop
class. Attending college does not mean
these life skills are no longer required.
Even PhDs need to learn how to swing a
hammer and cut a straight line for minor
home repairs, or else be left at the mercy
of a handyman all the time.
4) Vocational training is unrelated to
college prep studies and takes valuable
time away from the important subjects.
I would argue that they are actually complementary studies. Visit a construction
site and talk with a foreman or architect,
or stop by a good auto mechanic’s shop
and have him talk to you about the most
recent car he has been working on. You
will see math and physics in action. If you
work with wood but do not understand
how joints are created or the geometry required to sustain a load, then you will not
have a very long career as a woodworker.
Machinists understand how metals work,
how heat changes things, and depending
on the type of work, they can operate
some very advanced computer equipment. If a civil engineer ignores math and
physics and designs a curved road without the proper considerations for material, speed, and angle, then cars will fly off
Tasks never get completed.
Brookelyn didn’t know what to do with herself. And I didn’t know how to help. The urges were
off the charts. I didn’t want to be a mean Mom anymore.
After Brain Balance, my daughter stays on task. And she smiles from ear to ear. I do too.
- Elizabeth M., Brain Balance Parent
Brain Balance addresses:
• Lack of Focus
• Trouble Making Friends
• Family Interactions/Relationships
1-800-877-5500 • www.brainbalancecenters.com
Exclusive Offer for TOS Readers!
$50 off a comprehensive assessment
Find a Brain Balance Center near you!
Call today to get your child back on track.
There is no doubt that
many kids love to work
with their hands, so
shouldn’t shop class be
part of a well-balanced