• Arne Mortensen

More about the Nov2019 Longview School Bond

The Longview Public Schools put out a four page well done pamphlet titled “Capital Bond Information.” It has all the right pictures and swaying mottos, like “Creating the Future Today,” but it lacks full disclosure and leaves unanswered important questions.

BTW does anyone know what the above quoted motto means. I hope that I am not the only one tired of meaningless feel good statements that tell us nothing.

Let’s concentrate on page two, shown below, and, more specifically, on the very first item listed. Remember when we would get jobs as teenagers and in those jobs we learned many practical skills that we could carry into employment. Our government destroyed the teen age labor market and so now we have programs to teach those skills. But, I digress …

About “Career Technical/Vocational Upgrades,” there is nothing particularly wrong about this goal, except perhaps the cost. And maybe the notion that we teach in a classroom setting what is best learned on the job.

1 – The amortized cost is about $11.3 million, assuming a 3% annual interest rate.

2 – I have seen what technology does to occupations formerly deemed secure high paying blue-collar jobs. For example, welding is advertised heavily, but has anyone taken notice of how much welding is done by robots? This trend will not change. I hope there is wisdom and a realization that the best education is learning how to learn and how to be disciplined. The jobs of the future will be more uniquely human than ever as machines replace manual labor. Human strength is in the mind and in the imagination.

3 – Culinary arts? This is one of the more ephemeral vocations. I appreciate good food and the interest that some have in culinary work. What is the end goal for our community? Are we planning to form a Cordon Bleu school? Does anyone think that we can support a high-end restaurant here? Does anyone think that the many local fast food restaurants qualify as employers of those trained in culinary arts?

Okay, I admit I have a philosophical problem (or is it practical?) with this program. We eviscerated teen-age employment; we eviscerated music and shop; and now we seem to be trying to make our high school a job training center for industry. Let industry train their own staff; let our kids learn the three Rs. Make the school teach fundamentals. You don’t need new equipment for that … besides, by the time the student graduates the equipment will have changed. Teach the student to embrace change and to enjoy learning.

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