Thursday, January 08, 2015

get on the bus...

Most school districts across the US have abandoned their woodworking programs. The idea of elementary school woodworking was abandoned many years before when the Smith Hughes Act of 1917 funded vocational training and helped to create an academic divide between those who were going to college and those who would pursue blue collar work.

At this point so many schools are all screwed up. We have a huge number of college graduates who owe huge student loans and cannot find jobs in the fields where they expected to find ready employment. In the meantime, jobs in high tech industries that require some basic understanding of tools and technology go unfilled because student imaginations have never become acquainted with their creative capacities.

It is time to reinvigorate our schools by giving children something real to do. At this point in time, not many schools have wood shops. Clear Spring School is probably the only one in Arkansas in which children are trusted with real tools.

The woodworking bus or trailer that can be taken to schools, loaded with equipment and staffed with trained teachers is the idea model for a reintroduction of wood shops. On the other side of the continent, in Boston, one of the oldest schools in the US is doing the same thing. Eliot School, founded in 1639 and converted to a manual training school in the late 19th century carries woodworking to Boston Schools in a big box.

I'm trying to get some of my students ready to begin bowl turning and this (in my opinion requires the to become proficient in spindle turning first. A simple candle stick with smooth curvature is a great skill builder. Complex shapes can hide imperfection of technique, so smooth and elegant are best.

Make, fix, and create...

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