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Education, Work Force to play a part in Virginia’s future Friday, 20 January 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Views On News.

Bruce Roemmelt has a bang-up post at his site discussing Tim Kaine’s appointment of former Virginia AFL/CIO president Danny LaBlanc to the position of the Secretary of the Commonwelath, and his own union ties. Although it no longer fits, I have my union-label shirt around here, and I won’t part with it any time soon. I fully support the view that Bruce puts forward, that unions have done a terrific job of improving things for wrokers and their families – even the ones that don’t join. There are two sides to every story, and I do think there are some things that could be done better, but on the scales, I definitely come down on the pro-union side.

However, the parts of Mr. Roemmelt’s post that have me urging you to go and read it have to so with the future of manufacturing and Virginia’s workforce, and the role education plays in preparing for the future. Education – especially as it related to vocation – was part of the platform my employer ran on in his own bid for the Virginia House of Delegates. Reform is needed, beginning with rewarding our teachers adequately for the hard work they do, and then moving forward to making sure that Virginia’s students are learning the skills they need to be competitive, to land and keep jobs, and to turn in a superior performance not only in the classroom, but in the real world of the workplace as well.

There are reasons for some of the classes that 750 Volts’ Kenton Ngo has such fun avoiding doing his homework in; the challenge is to make those classes relevant and meaningful, rather than rote reguritation of over-processed, homogenized slop that’s fit only for job-losing, welfare-needing workforce monkeys. (With apologies to Mr. Jaquith, for stealing and butchering his terminology.)

To rework the ‘teach a man to fish’ story: If you teach a child the SOLs, the child can pass the SOLs. If you teach a child to think, the child can have a better life.

I think with Mr Kaine’s commitment, his appointment of Mr. LaBlanc, and with people like Bruce Roemmelt on the Pre-K to 16 Educational Goals Committee (hope I got that right), we have a real shot at meaningful change.

And btw, Bruce has more readers than he thinks he does.



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