Book: Shop Class As Soulcraft

I picked this book up recently, in the way in which the original “hypertext” steers me from one read to another, and must share briefly.

You may know that I am a strong advocate for the appropriate education of our gifted children, many of whom struggle to move forward in a world where standing out risks being leveled as Alexander the Great sought to level his vassal peoples. You’d think I’d be happy to see the vocational training programs cast aside and things like the new Ohio CORE requirements where all high school graduates in 2014 must have taken Algebra 2, etc.

The truth is, I feel a little queasy about the assumption that all children must attend college — at least as we traditionally see college. … The truth of the matter is that college has become dangerously commodified! Often all the student is doing is just buying a credential (an expensive one at that), and not really learning the critical thinking that is associated with a classic education in the Arts, Sciences, Humanities.

In Shop Class As Soulcraft, Matthew Crawford, takes a look at “An Inquiry into the Value of Work.” Crawford made a pilgrimage from Think Tank to the motorcycle shop, and in this move he gleaned some thoughts pertinent to this subtitle.

Crawford maintains that many of these technical/vocational “craft” type jobs actually do use many of the practitioner’s “higher” faculties, in such procedures as learning how to systematically solve problems – e.g. the skilled mechanic can listen to an engine and learn much (just as the skilled physician used to practice auscultation!). … There’s also the added benefit that many of the repair type crafts cannot be out-sourced!