I drove through St. Louis yesterday on my way to Marc Adams school where my class in box making starts tomorrow. St. Louis was one of the early homes of manual training in public schools. In a statement of purpose for manual training in St. Louis 1879 it was noted:
"...nearly all our skilled workmen are imported. Our best machinists, miners, weavers, watchmakers, iron workers, draftsmen and artisans of every description, come from abroad; and this is not because our native-born are deficient in natural tact or ability, nor because they are above and beyond such occupations, but because they are without suitable means and opportunities for getting the proper training."And so it was proposed that children would grow in intelligence, character and capacity through manual training in schools. 130 years later we're back where we started except that instead of importing workers, we export jobs. From the halls of congress to manufacturing and engineering, we turned management over to the MBAs. We allowed them to strip manual arts from schools. We allowed them to squeeze the profit from labor, leaving little of the dignity of American worker at hand.
And so what is the remedy? We claw our way back. Return to the basics of human productivity, and teach our children to be makers instead of idle consumers of imported stuff.
Make, fix and create.