Magazine article Techniques

From Plato to Perkins

Magazine article Techniques

From Plato to Perkins

Article excerpt

I have been accused of having "Smith-Hughes" tattooed on my posterior, and some believe I'm old enough to have been a contemporary of those congressional supporters of vocational education. But my career in vocational education really began when I became a teacher of industrial arts.

I grew up in a city that did not have a vocational education program, even though it was the capital of Ohio. I attended the highly academic school and graduated with all the classical academic subjects--four and a half years of Latin, one year of German, four years of science, including chemistry and physics, four years of so-called college preparatory math. I graduated from high school in 1936 and started looking for a job.

Every place I went to, they asked the same stupid question, "What can you do?" I could list my academic credentials and they would respond, "That's fine young man, but what can you do?"

Eventually I was able to get work in a machine shop based on the training I had received in college. After graduating from college I started teaching industrial arts. My first experience was teaching a night class of welding and sheet metal layout to adults at the Curtis Wright airplane manufacturing plant in Columbus. …

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