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'Shop class' still valuable, educators say

'Shop class' still valuable, educators say

By Mary Richards | Posted - Nov. 17, 2011 at 11:46 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Some schools nationwide are doing away with things like "shop class" and "home ec" in the name of academics. But in Utah, educators say these classes are even more relevant in today's society and economy.

Teenagers in Utah now have opportunities to work with the latest and greatest technology in everything from robotics to health sciences to diesel programs.

Darrell Andelin oversees technology and engineering programs in Utah's public schools. "It's very important in today's society that students are technology-literate, and use it effectively," he said.

He pointed out that "shop class" has changed since teenagers' parents attended high school. Classes now include information technology, computer programming, web design, pre-engineering and more.

"I think that many parents have no idea of all the educational opportunities available to their sons and daughters in the public schools today," he said.

State Technical Sciences Specialist Dave Milliken says even students are not aware of what's available in their own high schools.

"We try to keep abreast of what is going on in industry. We work with industry in advisory committees, we use national standards when we can," he said.

Milliken says students who may feel lost in their regular English or math classes per se, often find their passion in technical classes.

Andelin says these programs provide the link between academic learning and practical education. Milliken added that opportunities in career and technical education often lead right to jobs.

"It's a lot of these programs that we have that catch interest, and peak interest, and (students) find viable employment. They learn to grown and become a productive member of society," Milliken said.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

Mary Richards

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