Actor John Ratzenberger, who recently launched a firm to help American companies connect with customers, described the death of shop classes during a Wednesday interview on Fox News.
“I don’t even use the word blue-collar anymore. We say essential workers, because we need them more than they need us,” said Ratzenberger, who starred in the TV show “Cheers” and several Pixar movies, including “Toy Story.”
“They also canceled shop classes about 30 years ago,” he continued. “Just wiped them out. And, who knows, maybe it was political because if you don’t give people skills they have to rely on the government. But if you give them skills, they don’t need the government.”
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Ratzenberger hosts a TV show called “Made in America” on the Travel Channel, which inspired his partnership with GOP strategist Ryan Erwin to help American-made companies.
The Minnesota Sun, a publication of Star News Digital Media, recently ran an article on Midwest educators who are calling for a return to an education system that teaches students “basic life skills” and prepares them for a career in the trades.
“Many schools have eliminated industrial tech classes based on the expense and other curriculum requirements. Students benefit from hands-on learning and practical application of core curriculum,” said Jean Rakun, president of the Minnesota Association for Career and Technical Education, confirming Ratzenberger’s assessment.
“The lack of courses in CTE has created a lack of students with a passion for industrial tech careers and caused a shortage of prepared workers in fields related to industrial tech classes,” she added.
Kent Misegades, the author of a forthcoming book on the industrial arts published by Star News Digital Media, attributed the lack of students entering the trades to “stigma.”
“For decades, schools prepared people for adulthood,” he said, but claimed that now there are “negative connotations about any course of study that doesn’t lead you to a four-year degree.”
“There’s still a notion that if you want to take CTE classes, industrial arts classes you’re not smart enough to get into the other classes,” he added.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “John Ratzenberger” by Fox News.