Friday, October 28, 2011

Mo' Mizry from Wisconsin

Honest to God, I am as sick of posting the ongoing shenanigans of Governor Fucktardo as you are of reading them. But I got up this morning to find this posted on my Facebook feed:

(STATE CAPITOL) 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?"

And I just sat here with my mouth hanging open, unable to fathom the utter fucktardedness of this plan.

I can't imagine a job, besides an unskilled service job, that doesn't require math or writing/communications skills. My brother-in-law, who is a journeyman electrician, does more math on a daily basis than I've ever done in my 40 years on this planet. My OH, who didn't finish college, still needs to do math and write, daily.

My mother, in one of her teacherly incarnations (she was double certified), taught vo-ed in a suburban high school outside of Cleveland in the 70s and early 80s. Besides skills-based classes (typing and stenography), she taught business accounting and business communication. So these students needed both math and writing does jettisoning math and English make for a stronger, educated workforce? What fries my circuits is that this is even an option.

And what if, somewhere down the road, these vo-ed students want to go to college? What if the last time they were "forced" to "sit still in an English class" was in 10th grade? Or 9th? or 8th? We're already forced to remediate a high number of our incoming students, thanks to NCLB, which does nothing to prepare them for college-level work. How are we to remediate 3 or 4 completely missing years of high school instruction? The mind boggles.

Seriously, if you are looking for work (and strangely, we are hiring here in Wisconsin), look elsewhere. Anywhere but here. To quote the nasty maitre'd from Ferris Bueller, "I weep for the future."

Read the full article here.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I'm worried that this sets precedent and eventually, as Wisconsin goes, so goes the nation. I will leave. If I have to teach ESL in Germany, I will. Screw this noise.

  3. @Prickly Prof: Well screw you too. If you don't want to read them, don't open them, dumbass.

    @Snarky: I'm with you. I'm in a holding pattern now but my hope is to be out of here within a year.

  4. @Snarky Writer. that's my worry too. The governor of Wisconsin is getting "famous" around the country for this type of stuff. More and more ambitious types--who are NOT friends of public education--are paying attention.

  5. Put a sock in it, Prickly. If this isn't misery, I don't know what is. And this is your future too. A nation of Gammas pushing buttons at Mickey D's is what we'll have.

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  7. @PP: Are you a troll? I think you're a troll. Trolls post shitty little comments on threads they purport to find a) uninteresting or b)not worth their time. Yet here you are, crying to the moderator that you're not being protected. Troll.

    @F&T and TPP: I think that this proposal is part of the ALEC masterplan to get us back to the 19th century: a large, undereducated underclass that will do what it's told, and like it. We're already partway there, if the fucktards in Wisconsin are any indication.

  8. I have to apologize in advance. I have been unaware of any of this Wisconsin stuff going on. I moved from the southwest to the northwest this past year and am not a big fan of the national news.

    My concerns are about the colleges and states I'm in, as I'd think is true for most readers.

    But I can easily skip over Wisconsin story if it's not interesting to me, and so should the rest.

  9. I think our country does focus too much on college prep as the only acceptable way to prepare students for adulthood. Students who will be looking for a full time job within a year after high school should learn skills in high school that will help them do that.

    "But college is the only way for students to get ahead!" I hear. That's true if we've taught them no other skills in high school other than how to get into college. Preparing students for college when they probably won't finish their freshman year isn't helping them.

  10. I'm with Ben on this one. Far too many students are being told that they *need* college. We'd be far better off as a nation if we took academically under performing students out of college prep courses and taught them a trade. If we train HVAC techs in big school these people won't be saddled with $30000 in debt from the local for profit trade school. Not only would these 18 year olds leave high school with a career path but they would also have a chance at a decently paying apprenticeship but with no debt to support.

    I actually think that the idea is a pretty compassionate one. As for those who want to go to college later in life. Well, that's what the college prep curriculum at a community college is for. Some of my more impressive students have been former military CC transfer students. I think it has to do with their level of maturity.

    My HS best friend has just started going back to school. She never would have made it at 18. But she has a 4.0 and is one semester from finishing CC. She is so much better equipped for college now than she was back then.

    As a mathy type I'm not offended in the least if a student is pulled from Algebra II to take a course in carpentry or electrics or what have you. That student will be learning the math he or she will use.

  11. My dad is a retired teacher, and he's on the school board back home. I can't think of many people who are bigger on the value of higher education than my dad, but even he says that cutting the vo-tech courses in favor of universal college-prep was a huge mistake.

  12. I'm all in favour of vocational classes, but I don't think that means English & math should be cut. You could substitute "business communications" and "business math" for English lit and algebra perhaps, but without a basic literacy and numeracy no one, vocational or otherwise, is going to be able to support themselves. There are only so many jobs at McDonald's, and even McDonald's is going to go under when people can no longer afford to eat there.

  13. There is a difference between going to college and having math and English.

    I move in a circle of very educated and not-at-all-colleged folks who work with their hands (electricians, plumbers, bartenders, artists). They all need English to work out their businesses and analyze the world around them. They all use math on a regular basis.

    This isn't like cutting history or music, which has an underlying value but some people can justify moving it off the main page. This is LANGUAGE AND NUMBERS. We all need that regardless of our jobs.

    Fucking Walker.

  14. Please understand that my consternation is not over the return of vo-ed; far from it. Like Academic Monkey, I too have many friends who are in the "trades" and are doing just fine. MY OH is one of them. I have had many students quit and go on to become mechanics, dental hygienists, etc. They're all smart, successful people who didn't need college. They'd have saved tech school tuition had vo-ed still been in place.

    My problem is with the idea promulgated by the fucktards' proposal: that you don't need math or English to be successful. Even the tech schools here require basic math and writing courses of their students.

  15. I'm disturbed by the pigeonholing possibilities.

    Student in a low income area? College isn't for the likes of you, but here, we have these *wonderful* vocational courses.

    As long as it's not used as an excuse to let the quality and availability of instruction to slip even further, and the kids are made aware of and encouraged to pursue the college route, then fine. But my money's on it simply furthering the divide.

  16. Isn't the problem that some people do succeed without much/any training so they feel that no one else needs it either?

    I took a few vo-tech courses in high school and some of the others taking vocational courses probably would have dropped out if they weren't offered. Instead of looking forward to a promising career in the trades, they might have been left with a selection of McJobs to choose from...

  17. I highly suspect that most of the takers wouldn't be tracked in to vo-tech courses. I think that they would choose to take vo-tech over the more traditional, college prep courses. People want to take those courses that they feel they can excel in. No one wants to take courses that they know they will fail.

    The people who will benefit most from the offering of vo-tech courses are those students who are failing in the college prep curriculum.

    Replacing one or two english and math classes isn't going to change literacy and numeracy rates by much at all. So many high school graduates have 8th grade or lower reading and math skills. I really don't think that these students make any leaps or bounds in the last two years of high school. So why not just teach them something they can use? We might even be able to break the Welfare cycle in some families.

  18. I don't know if anybodys mentioned this, but Scott Walker is a college dropout who took his part-time IBM warrantee-selling job experience and began working for the Red Cross in 1990. He then oozed into GOP politics from there.* It's obvious to me the guy knows nothing about education, and yet he's killing public education in Wisconsin because that's one of his party's hidden mandates.

    Fire him....out of a cannon.


    * All that comes from his Wikpedia page, so caveat lector. It also points out the guy has four years of college - if he's got the four years, why didn't he pick up a diploma?

  19. reading n riting is 4 loosers.
    maths are 2.

  20. @Strel:
    He "left" Marquette under a cloud of suspicion for cheating when he ran for President of Student Government. Surprise!

    @Bubba: Let's go have a drink.


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