Most High Schools nowadays don't offer this.
I revere the memories of my experiences and the knowledge acquired in my Auto Shop classes. My first engine rebuild, the demo of feeding a handfull of nuts & bolts into a running flat six on the test stand.
Ahhhh, those were the days.......... I had an "A", and my buddy had a "T", now I know what was the coolest!
Castro Valley High School ( Castro Valley, CA.) 1961-1963
I took auto shop at Humboldt State imagine offering such a class in College today!!
Rebuilt the engine in my '39 ChXXy sedan (my main wheels) in one class--finished it over the weekend, and had it hooked up to the scope for Monday Morning class. The Prof walked over and said, "OK, start it up!" "It's already running!" said I. "Damn, now I'm gonna have to give him an A."
Then there's the time someone mixed up dipsticks on the practice engines, so each class added the oil it needed. Came to my class & the two girls working on it told Dr. Jolly (his real name), "we can't get this engine to start." He starts turning it over and all that excess oil splotched out of the filler pipe and on him! Turned out it had a VW dispstick in it!
More fun stories, but later! BTW, I have the very last Industrial Arts BA degree conferred by Chico State, 1990.
There's hope out there , gentlemen.
Downey High School in Downey, California (my Alma Mater, class of 1979) opens their brand-new auto tech building in September! They never closed their wood shop and it's still going strong.
Right down the street in Norwalk, Cerritos Community College has probably the most extensive Auto Technology Department in the West. They currently offer Associates Degrees in that, and many other fields of technology.
Does machine shop count? Brewster High school Tampa Florida 1966 - 1970 I think it was in my junior year we moved to a new building and a name change to Tampa bay area Vocational Technical H.S. and they offered everything from cosmetology to auto repair to carpentry.
"imagine offering such a class in College today"
Take a look at the core standards they are pushing today. A total farce! There is no mention of any kind of a vocational subject. They are closing shop programs left and right, and this has been going on for 20 years. When I retired, they closed my wood shop for good. I've always worked around cars all my life, but it wasn't until I took auto shop in high school, that it all came together. Perhaps some day, they will look back an realize what a mistake they made.
I had the privilege of taking woods, auto mechanics and machine shop in junior/high school. I guess those classes combined steered me to my career path.
From there I spent three years at Southeast Community College obtaining two associates degree in technical fields (industrial machine repair and auto mechanics). After a couple years of working it was back to the University of Nebraska for four more years to earn my Manufacturing Engineering degree. I'm now employed as a Sr. Mfg Engineer at an aerospace firm in California. My daily work ranges from working on the space station to airliners such as the B737.
Those early days in school were so important to me.
I had the good luck to attend a top notch vocational school for auto mechanics rather than attending my regular high school during my senior year in 1971-72. Instead of having three or four study halls and a couple PE classes, I got to take courses in diagnostics, engine rebuilding, high performance, frame and front end alignment, among others. My greatest regret is that I graduated and couldn't stick around for the second year of drive trains and automatic transmissions. While so much of what I learned has become dated, it was still one of the most useful educational experiences of my life...and that's a Master's degree in Educational Administration talking.
Granada Hills High School, Los Angeles Unified School District,
Mr Lee Mills, instructor
William E. Grady. Vocational/Technical High School. Brooklyn N.Y. 1964/68. Still in operation. Even girls attend now!
I thought this would be a good place to post that 1927 picture of Grace Wagner we've all seen, but then I found this one I haven't seen before. Miss Wagner is under the car. The other girls are Grace Hurd, Evelyn Harrison and Corinna DiJuliano. In the other picture Grace is working on a T. What car is this one?
I took both wood and metal shop at Ruddiman Jr. High. Detroit had a funny system in some places where junior high went an extra grade and you spent less time in high school.
I had parents that didn't mind me monopolizing their garage with silly projects along with a grandmother who let me park in her garage during the winter since she didn't drive. It bothers me that less and less students graduating with engineering degrees know how to spin a wrench or to machine something. Many colleges offer the Formula SAE program to students as an extra curricular activity but only a small percentage of students participate. Further, depending on where you receive your education, wrenching on your own vehicle may be depriving someone of their job and is looked down upon. Apparently I went to school during a golden age when students could learn to work with their hands and their brains. In my last semester in metal shop, I remember some student poured water into our sand casting projects and almost injured our teacher when he poured in the aluminum after class.
My mother still has the bowl I turned for her in wood shop and then french polished.
My entire working life was in California public school facilities, and I have a comment.
It's easy to be critical of local school boards when talking about this subject. "They" cut this program and "they" cut that program., and to some extent the criticism is justified.
However, take a good look at how school buildings are funded here in sunny Califunny. You'll learn that the funding model is built on 960 sq. ft. classrooms for 27 students each for 6 periods per day. A shop (auto, metal wood, etc) takes up at least 2 or 3 times that much space, serves an average of approximately 27 students per period, but typically in many schools the program only has enough enrollment for 2 or 3 periods per day. It just plain does not work.
Why does it not work? Because the entire facilities funding model is built on numbers. 27 kids each period for 6 periods in a 960 sq. ft. classroom. School districts can't afford shop facilities because they come at the expense of "academic" space. Often it is necessary to convert shop space into "academic" classrooms just so they'll have enough capacity to house all the kids. Note that in some districts local interest backed up by local voter approved bonds has remedied this problem, but not in many districts.
If you really want to change this, the villain is the legislature. Until program diversity and curricular content drives how school facilities are funded instead of simple numbers it can't be fixed.
Henry is on the right track there, but I'd go a step past the legislature to the voters. You get what you vote for. Remember when all those kids were killed in the most recent Moore tornado? Yet Oklahoma voters refuse to provide shelters. If keeping taxes down is considered worth killing a few students, what chance do "non-academic" classes have?
In California the a great percent of industrial and vocational classes as well as music and art classes were cut due to budget restraints.
California allots money for students and this is based on average daily attendance or A.D.A. In 1999 California budgeted about $6000 per student per year. In 2013 the figure was $11,000 per ADA. These funds come from Property Taxes.
An ADA equals 15 hours which is for each student. Academic classes qualify but shop and elective classes do not. If a class room has 30 students that equates to two ADA's or $22,000 budgeted for that class. A teacher hold six classes at $22,000 and so gets a budget of $132,000 but earns about $65,000. The excess goes to pay salaries of non classroom employees. These funds may not be allowed for building or supplies.
Teachers do not pay social security but do pay about 10 percent in a mandatory retirement program called the State Teachers Retirement System or STRS.
So since electives do not qualify for budget they are cut.
California then opened separate campuses known as ROC's or Regional Occupation Centers. They also run Regional Occupation Programs where students attend classes at job sites and get daily active involvement in on the job training. This way the school district does not have to support a campus and the student helps the job site with support. Less popular or scarce occupations are thus supported.
The trick is that the student gets ADA from the academic campus from 8:00 a.m. 'till 11:00 a.m. and a second ADA at the second location from 1:00 p.m. 'till 4:00 p.m. or in other words "Double Dips". This condition is breaking the educational bank in California.
Frank Harris Dean of Instruction and Curriculum retired - Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Los Angeles , CA
Another reason you see shop classes disappearing is that many "professional" parents don't want their kids going into careers that are viewed as lower class. The first districts that lost their shop classes in my neck of the woods were the districts with the highest per capita incomes. Doctors, lawyers and such didn't want their kids getting interested in "dirt under the nails" vocations so they killed off the opportunities in order to steer the kids away from such things.
Warren, Properly accredited educational institutions offer what the advisory committees require. Your instance of one school does not represent the entire school district.
There is hope outside schools. The maker movement is going strong and continues to attract younger people. The jist of the movement is DIY and building things yourself. It is centered on many conputer controlled things like 3D printers and CNC machining, however there is a practical and artistic side to it as well. There also appears to be a blowback on the "You must go to college" parents. Graduates of colleges are not finding the good jobs promised them by their elders, the younger generation is seeing this and pushing for vocation schools. When we get rig of the didn't go to college stigma, we'll be better off.
Last year the state adopted the "Local Control Funding Formula", a whole new approach to K-12 funding. Although ADA is still a basis for K-12 funding, the new method a LOT different than the much more simple ADA formula you're referring to.
I don't know about Technical Trade Colleges, but in typical California public high schools, a full time student (6 periods) gets full funding. As long as the school is WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accredited, all classes qualify.
One more point: the "ADA" money were talking about pays salaries for teacher, custodians, secretaries, librarians, payroll staff, district superintendent, paper, pens, utilities, and all other expenses associated with classroom activity directly or indirectly. Yes, these funds are short, and over the past several years programs have been cut as a consequence.
Facilities funds are in a totally separate category. They may NOT (by law) be used for salaries or operating expenses. They may be used ONLY for land acquisition, construction, re-costruction, and in some cases initial furnishing of schools. This is the funding I was talking about in my "27 kids, 6 periods, 960 sq. ft." comments.
As you can already see, it gets really complicated real fast. That'show Sacramento likes it. It assures nobody really knows what's actually going on.
If you're interested in how California K-12 schools are now funded (operationally, not facilities) under the new low take a look at this:
More than Money!
Shop class were used as a dumping ground for problem and students that could not speak English. ESL, ELD, SPED, etc.
The main problem is lack of prior education!
Electronics classes require a lot of MATH
Auto shops now require technical reading
Wood and metal shops need a lot of common sense!
Agriculture require a strong work ethic
Look around at today's teens!
College bound to unemployment!
This thread has moved around quite a bit. I feel it has come to where it looks like the most viable option for any of us who are concerned, is to seek out a young person that expresses an interest in "old cars" and to be a mentor. That could be the spark that ignites a new face in an old hobby and might lead to future related possibilities!
I resent what Steve said about problem students. When I was in High School 60 years ago, I and many friends who were smart people and all spoke English liked the shop classes. We could see no use for the Math, History, English, Social Studies classes. We saw a practical use for the shop classes.
I took the math and other classes as well, and it was not until many years later while working with the Telephone company that I realized the use for Algebra, Trigonometry, or Calculus. Later I understood what math was all about. Unfortunately, the reasons for it were not taught, just the grueling memorization. Remember also about the only technology we knew was radio and television. We could not see what was going on inside the box. In shop classes, we could see and have hands on experience.
These days, we see very little use for the shop classes because about the only thing we use it for is building houses and other buildings. Almost anything else is imported from elsewhere.
If we were to teach the manual arts and if our laws and restrictions were loosened to allow competitive manufacturing in the United States, we would have a lot less unemployment, welfare, crime and other problems. Not everyone is suited for the "higher" education. That does not at all mean they are not smart. Just smart in a different way.
Boy does that bring back memories. My shop was indeed used as a dumping ground for problem kids. I got good kids in the 9th grade, but they couldn't continue past that because of academic requirements.
My dad was a strong supporter of our "Technical High School" AKA VoTech because He was an accomplished tool and die maker (not a machinist)
After WWII he taught tool and die making in the evening to vets.
In spite of this I went to the regular high school because I was expected to go to college - but one of the things dad did for me was take me to his work on Saturday and teach me how to use many of the tools he used. At 14 -15 etc I could operate a drill press, lathe, milling machine, shaper, planer, and a Fellows gear shaper. Later I learned a bit about welding and brazing.
It certainly put me ahead of most of the other mechanical design/engineering students.
My Dad taught wood shop. It wasn't a dumping ground per se, but lots of ne'er-do-wells took it, thinking it was easy. Daddy wasn't easy. Or at least he wasn't until forced to be. He tried to teach them something. Some wanted to learn. Others did not. He would give them the grade they earned (Or dare I say....deserved), but oft times was forced by the powers-that-be to pass them anyway.
If you guys really want to improve things, get involved, both locally and at the state level. I am always amazed at how folks loose interest in school management once their kids are grown. "It doesn't matter to me any more" is the attitude. Baloney. For the 2014/15 year, 42.37% of the state general fund budget (the largest single item) is spent on public K-12 education. We ALL pay the taxes to fund education, not just parents with kids in school.
My path to VoTech was obstructed by the mantra, "You're too smart to take VoTech classes -- you don't need them!". Never mind I lusted after the old brass cars from my earliest days. Dad despised old cars, so that's just the way it was going to be.
Auto classes could help a lot of nerds blossom and improve their book sense with a little more common sense. I sure coulda used that!
After wasting time with some 50s luxo-cruisers and 60s muscle cars, I've finally clawed my way into some exotic T material. Now the goal is a good stock T. A simple driver.
I wasn't allowed to take shop either. College prep classes for me. We only had small engine at my school, but I would sure have enjoyed it. I did my learning with older friends and then on my own when I was old enough to have a car of my own. My father and grandfather were both pretty good at repairs, but really didn't enjoy working on cars. Just did it out of necessity. I got my ME degree, but am still a pretty hands on type.
Hal - After years of experience I can say that any ME that has "hands on shop experience" is worth 2 of the "know it all" book nerds.
Show me an engineer or draftsman that works on his own vehicle and he will be innovative instead of just doing the same thing over and over.
I have a high respect for people like Steve Jelf that come up with innovative solutions to problems and are also willing to learn from other.
My Mom used to say that people today just don't know what they don't know!
Took auto shop at David Brearley HS 1977-1978. Great memories and knowledge; taught by Mr. Striker. Was great being able to put my "new" '63 Skylark up on the lift to do service and get HS credit for doing it!
Also took Wood shop; learned skills that came in handy when I bought my fist home. The school also offered Beauty Culture for hair cutting/styling (No, I did not take that course).
The school's first and primary focus has always been sports. Media center and video production curriculum disbanded due to lack of funding so athletic dept could buy vital equipment like a machine to throw a football 50 yards for $1000....
The shops are all gone now: Metal shop is a wrestling room. Wood shop is a weight lifting room, Auto shop is the maintenance dept. off limits to students.
The big payoff: Super bowl stardom: Tony Siragusa (who?) Class of ’85; actually made it to the super bowl! Now sells adult diapers on TV.
Yep, pretty clear to me the School made the right choice in getting rid of all those silly shops, teaching nonsense, to use the space for more practical use: preparing future student athletes for stardom.
This year, the Texas Legislature, passed a new education reform Bill (I think it was called House Bill #5). It was passed in order to try to curb the 'dropout rate' of students in Texas high schools. Instead of preparing all student for college entrance, it recognizes that not all students are 'rocket scientists' and the new bill allows them to prepare for the workforce by taking trades and technical courses, where offered.
My veiws, I come from a time when my parants looked
at school shop as dumb bell school. They probably
were still in 1929 depression shock. So they
pointed me to college courses in which I learned
nothing. My only A's were in science chemistry,
the rest I slept and got Fs and Ds. Guidence counc.
was a dope he should have told my parents that I
was more mechanically minded from my marks. Now
me, I instisted my two boys go to shop. Today both
boys are 'State union carpenters' ok. big big bucks.
state workers you all know dont do nothing just put their time in. Meanwhile most of my college
course good ole boy ended up working in Wally world or burger king. there ya go. So my kid earns
a grand a week all from dumb bell school. Now they
teach kids to be brain dead cant even change a light bulb. >just look at your polititions< they
didnt even play with toys. my 3 cents
I just remembered taking an automotive night class at the Votech in Corning NY with a friend while I was working as an engineer in the Process Research Center.
Neither of us had a garage and we had few tools so the class became a place that we could do brake jobs, clutches, tune-ups, etc. in the evening. We always had plenty of hands to help us with our projects!
My mechanical engineering degree required course work in machine shop, welding and foundry. It also included wood pattern making and surveying. My first ME job was At Hughes Tool in Houston. I spent the first 3 months in the tool design department, working in design and in solving problems on the machine shop floor. My next 3 months was in the laboratory. I learned much about forging, machining, heat treating, and metallurgy. When Howard Hughes Jr. lost his airline (TWA),I lost my job. My next job lasted 35 years and I used all the hands on skills as well as my math and engineering skills. My 14 year old grandson is learning as many hands on skills as I can expose him to in my garage shop and on the farm. I have 3 other grandchildren but only the 14 year old has these hands on interests.
This has been a very interesting thread...
When I was young I was fortunate to spend summers on my relatives farm in Nova Scotia. I loved it !
I went to a four year college and found my most favorite classes were art appreciation and music appreciation. These classes helped me more in later years then any others. I traveled the world, met a Welsh woman and married her. This has given my family two homes.
College was fun but only a starting board for life...
Very interesting comment, Randy. I think many folks today believe an education should teach them everything they should know, when in fact the best education is one that teaches them to think.
I took college prep courses in HS mainly to get the more advanced math and science classes. I also took shop all four years. My shop teacher is a man I will never forget. He influenced my career track more than any other person in my life. I learned wood working, welding, foundry, sheet metal, and machine shop. I later became a tool and die maker which got me into engineering, tool design, then into management.
I still enjoy wood working, furniture making, and working in the machine shop. I can make about anything I can envision.
My experience has taught me to not be afraid of anything mechanical. I am saddened by the fact that my old high school no longer offers the industrial arts. They don't even have a shop anymore. I get the impression that college is imperative and anything less makes one a failure. I don't believe college is for everyone. Some kids might be more successful learning some basic skills to build on.
Atten Mr Cheshire!
I am the old Tampa Bay Tech. Administrative coordinator. Indeed we did move to the new school on Orient Road in 1969 and 70.
It IS good to know/ meet someone on the Forum from my past!!!
If you can remember I owned and drove T's to school sometimes. You may have worked on one of my Corvettes in your shop classes. I had the Blue Convertible with the white top with the all aluminum Big Block in it. ZL1.
Lets see!!! Mr Russ Sayer, Then Mr Powell, and then there was John Harmonwski in the auto shops.
I was Mr Geisler if you remember and located in the office.
In the Machine shop was Mr Kimbal and Mr. Earnhart?
If my memory still serves me well. Mr Kimbel took over my spot when I moved to another school.
When I was in high school, they had courses to teach you how to be a farmer. I lived on a farm and the last thing I wanted was farm courses. I now operate the farm, but it never was a large money maker. (mostly cattle)
I took courses like Chemistry, Physics, math courses, typing and even a journalism course. (I still know how to type and it comes handy here on the forum.
No regrets, I became a field service rep in the oil patch on the electrical control side. Mostly gas compressor, but even some fresh water controls for cities.
I travel a lot and had fun and as long as the controls got fixed, my employer was happy.
I took drafting, metal, wood (a couple semesters) and print shop. Was glad to have the opportunity to learn about and use some tools I didn't otherwise have access to. I think all but the print shop class taught skills or techniques I've been able to apply and expand on in life. They were never directly part of a career but helped on the homeowner and hobby side. It's been sad to see classes for hands on skills fall by the wayside. Far too many people are helpless without their checkbook or credit card.
Where in Nova Scotia Randy?
Drafting in High School and Community Collage, some commercial art, landscaping and printing. Never made in to any of those fields directly but the one thing I remember even after over 38 years, from one of my collage drafting instructors;
"it's not what you know and remember but knowing where to look when you need help or information".
The family dairy farm was and still is in Belmont, Nova Scotia. My cousins there showed me how to milk a cow and how to run heavy equipment out in the woods in the pulp wood industry. I was probably only about 14 when I first started going there. I was in total heaven and it certainly changed my life.
Small world. Belmont is only eight miles from me.
Well I have been reading most all these posts and can only say if it weren't for my high school shop classes or my case it was first called farm shop when I was in high school my life would have ended up totally different. My older sister graduated valedictorian in her class and my older brother was third highest in his class and the best I can say is I did graduate. However, if it hadn't been for my two shop teachers as well as my dad I wouldn't be were I'm today. English, math and the sciences just weren't things that came easily to me as it did for my sister and brother but I did have a knack when it came to mechanical devices. I early on learned watch repair at 14 and still have a collection of over 50 antique watches and in shop I learned to weld, fix gas engines and a whole long list of other developed hands on skills. My dad helped me with my first car that was a Model A which really got me started with old cars. Now it's 6 Model T's 3 Model A's 6 old tractors and 2 bulldozers.
So some might say I was dumped in these shop classes because I was poor in the regular academics. My one shop teacher saw my mechanical skills and put thought a small scholarship for me to go to Michigan State University but my sister and brother and including my mother had all graduated from Central Michigan University and so with some luck I passed their entices exams and got enrolled. After completing my first year with a better point average then I had in high school. My old HS shop teacher stop out to see how I was doing. He then said I sure hope you make it just so I can say to your old math teacher you have. She had said to him when she heard I was going to college that I was wasting tax payer money trying to compete at that level. Well after just four years I graduated with a BS degree in Industrial Education. Went back and got my Master's while still teaching full time.
Now retired or sort, you might have seen some the T stuff I have reproduced over the years. So after teaching 31 years as mainly as an auto mechanic instructor and in the last two years as a metals instructor that I had originally gotten my degree in.
This all started because someone saw a hope that I could do better with these mechanical skills that didn't show up in my regular academic classes. How many students like me are being over looked now with these classes being removed from the present day curriculum.
As far as my years as a auto instructor all I can say it was at its high point for me starting out. This high school I taught at was top notch with great students and parents. You might have heard students say they had a great teacher I have to turn it around and say I had great students and yes I got the troubled ones too but I always told them my life story and if they wanted to they could make it work for them too.
After the first year my numbers had grown to get a 6th class I even had enough for a 7th class but my union wouldn't let it happen so just I enrolled some of outstanding students in my lunch hour unpaid but they still got the credit. To this day still I only have two meals a day. Once a week I had an open shop in the evening from 6PM until hopefully at 9 but more like 10 some nights. More the once I had write a note to parents explaining the overtime so their boy didn't get in trouble. That gave students more time to do things that couldn't be done in my structured daily lesson plan to keep going forward. Plus this got them some one on one help. It was also open for parents to come in and see that was going on and talk. I always tried to have it scheduled on our parents open house night so all the parents could come in and see the set up while the students were working.
Things did get bigger then I wanted when they split my beginning class offering into a semester long class so twice the number of students could take the course. The up side was the advanced class which was a two hour block was made up of best of the best from these eight beginner classes. To get around these short time offering the students and I got together and got the shop opened during the summer from 6PM until again hopefully over by 10 PM, you know "it not dark yet". I didn't get paid this but I did record that students that had completed certain given skills and their hours spent so they would received a credit for these completed tasks. Some rebuild an engine, some chose painting their car or did body work set down in a step by step organized matter. Another up side was two of these summer students themselves become auto mechanic instructors after college. Over the years I had a rough count that 8 had become instructors but far beyond that are guys working today that became involved in many of the related automotive fields just from the spark of a hands on experience early on.
I taught this 6th class for 18 years with extra pay but when times got tight I was told it had to stop and this meant no more two hour block time for my advanced auto service class so I volunteered with no pay to keep it a two hour block for another 4 years. By that time highly tech stuff was coming into play and the school wasn't up to buying materials to stay up with it to service the modern cars coming on today's market. So my numbers started drop and new names like Transportation Technology started to be listed as the course offering. In short more books less hands on. However, because I was able to teach this one metals class I was able to start an ultra-light vehicle project with students from both classes constructing a couple three wheelers using a minibike engines for a power plant.
By chance a local news reporter was driving by the school when he saw these two students out doing a test run with it in the parking lot and so stopped and interviewed them and took pictures which then came out in the paper. These students did a better job with this interview then I ever could have done especially when the one said this class was the reason he was going on to college. At this same time the school was looking to give grants to programs that showed promise in better educating students so I just wrote up a small grant proposal and enclosed the news paper clipping underlining the statement about the reason for going on to college. So we won and got the top grant of $1500. The next years we started a second battery operated vehicle with a donation from a local business of a golf cart which we used the motor for the power plant. Now we could afford materials to do the body with fiberglass and get the deep cycle batteries needed along with other parts that were normally made from junk lying around.
OK I have to bring this to an end or it starts to sound like the older I get the better it was. But my life has been around mechanics all my days and I hope this rubbed off on some students I came in contact with over the years. In fact one the guys on this forum was one of my students but I can't take credit for his involvement with T's since it was dad and his mechanical teaching that get him into automotive and heavy equipment business he is in now as well as the old cars. Bob