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posted: 11/15/2013 5:00 AM

Don't leave out teaching teens the trades

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I saw an article about Northwest Suburban High School District 214's plans to spend the millions of dollars that they have accumulated from overtaxing property owners. Roofing and repaving projects seem reasonable and necessary. And $88,000 to build a wood shop at Forest View alternative school also seems like a good idea.

But $1.8 million to design the "classroom of the future," and admitting that nobody knows what the classroom of the future will look like, seems like a waste of money. How about spending that $1.8 million dollars on current students, and on projects that we know will be useful to them?

Perhaps we can get out of the mindset that every student should be pushed into a college track. We all know that not every student should go to college, and that it is not necessarily a bad thing. How about spending that money on more training for jobs in the trades like carpentry, plumbing, auto mechanics and electrical careers? There are plenty of jobs available for tool and die makers, or for people who can fix things, like appliances and other products. Spend the money creatively to create mentorship or apprenticeships with area companies to help them get the workers that they need.

The world doesn't need more unemployed sociology majors. It needs more trained people who can fix things and use their hands in addition to their minds. Let's spend some money on those kids, before they drop out of college or graduate with huge debt facing them, and their only options are to become fast-food workers and stockroom workers, and give then a leg up on their futures. Good for the kids, good for the employers and good for America.

Ken Glassman

Arlington Heights

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