Stop Pushing Young Gifted & Black Into Trades?

June 8, 2010

[Written by Colin Palmer] Responding to the article in the Sun by Tom Vesey, which I believe was written with “tongue in cheek”, I believe the subject needs addressing by the public.

When young Bermudian males, in fact young males anywhere in the western world are growing up, they love to work with their hands; they love to know how things work and they love to get their hands dirty – fact.

Why on earth they would wish to venture into a world of which they have been alienated, unprepared and have absolutely little interest in joining; IB may need them – but the question is, do the young need and want that world?

About 5% of our brightest will become actuaries, or top executives earning big $$, but the majority of students can still become well paid technicians and even technologists given the opportunity. These opportunities do not yet exist, despite trying for twelve years to open up these opportunities for our young people.

Let’s stop the rhetoric, let’s start treating our youth as ‘people’ and not black or white. Treat them the same, and stop putting the race card in between the working class.

“It’s not dishonourable to work with ones hands, but it’s not where the money is”. Tell that to a surgeon, and tell that to a senior project foreman in construction earning $150,000 a year or an engineer earning the same.

If we had educated our students well, they would be employed in well paid jobs. The truth is they are not well prepared for the workplace, which is why a technical high school has been a long term objective of a few people in the community.

Why? Because if it “turns the students on to education”, the sky is the limit. Google the achievements of Bill Strickland and see the triggers to turn boys on to education. Also read Dr. Leonard Sax’s book ‘Boys Adrift’. Then you will see why the article was ‘off base’

The Mincy report is so far from reality as to be almost fiction. Had present day education been studied to any depth one would realise that the black-white wages discrepancy issue need not be an issue if we trained our young folks and prepared them for the workplace properly, there would be a set rate for a level of qualification and the same for everyone, the rest one worked for.

The truth about our education approach is that the students are switched off by “pipeline” educational, i.e. the wrong teaching methods which are inappropriate to males. There are too few male teachers to be role models to follow. Boys first need to be switched on to education (not easy), and then use small successes using things they “can do” to progress to the academic areas like mathematics and physics. But it has to be fun, it has to be practical and it has to be realistic.

Once “hooked”, the sky is the limit. But we need the male teachers capable of doing that; educated practical, motivated in making successful students.

It’s not as easy as saying “let’s ensure our black boys get into international business”. First they need to be taught to read and write and become interested in learning. Our educational standard is less than 50% of the US average and the US is 25th on the OECD scale. Ask where does that put us on the world scale to manufacture international business tycoons?

We should be interested in making the majority successful, creating citizens that are proud of what they do, and capable of earning a decent wage instead of taking lower paid work.

We need education that makes a difference.

School counseling and career counseling are two completely different processes, and one cannot do the work of the other; both counsel – but that’s the extent of the similarity. The one needs to be a psychology major, and the other a worldly and knowledgeable counselor capable of explaining and advising a student on a large number of occupations.

And for the record, the budget was cut by $309,000 for counselors.

I want success for our youth, but let’s also be realistic. Let’s take one step at a time and concentrate on the majority of our young folk not just 5%. If that means we get 100% pass rate and 100% graduation rate, give me the trades and a well paid job anytime.

Remember this – in 10 years time when all those “baby boomers” retire there will be a 16% shortfall of technically trained for the workforces of the Americas and Europe, what will you pay for a plumber then? If we don’t train them you won’t get one!!!

Colin Palmer

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Comments (4)

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  1. Tired of the nonsense.... says:

    “And for the record, the budget was cut by $309,000 for counselors.”

    That one line says it all about the PLP’s “serious” approach to improving the education of young black males and ensuring that they break out of this terrible white supremacist institutionalised racism that all white Bermuda instituted and collectively maintains. Just ask Rolfe, Laverne, Marc, Dr. Brown etc,

    Lets see where this $$$ is better spent:

    – Cut the counselors budget that could actually improve the stated of our dismal education system

    and use these funds in areas that are more important:

    - Increase the Tourism & Transport budget again just to pay off Dr. Brown’s foreign friends and allow for untendered and unjustified contracts be granted to Howard Alumni
    - Commission an $800k study on how to abolish the corporations,
    - Pay $300+k on a gambling study
    - Ensure that the egotistical leader is sufficently protected by unnecessary security through the tax payers dime, oh and spend another $60k on a personal chef for His Majesty
    - Buy a $200k Beemer to ensure that everyone knows that you are the “guy”
    - Try and justify an attempt to increase the MPs salary in a middle of a recession while increasing taxes on the individual’s that aren’t so lucky to be paid $100k+ a year and thus have even less income
    - Pay Rolfe “I hate anything not black” Commissiong $100k+ a year to further the divide between the races
    - Spend $1mn on Beyonce
    - Use taxpayer’s $$$ to help fund a Playboy event

    But wait I am mistaken as this frivolous spending is not so frivolous….for it is still the party’s fault that hasn’t been in power for over a decade now…actually all of our social ills such as gun play, pathetic tourism #s, sh*tty education system, skyrocketing debt levels etc. are all a direct result of the combined opposition, you know the one that was voted out last century…

    Silly me politricks are for kids….

    PS: Without the trades we wouldn’t have or be where we are today…

  2. RISE UP says:

    GREAT ARTICLE

  3. Chris says:

    @Tired of the nonsense… Nice comment.

    I love how speaking the TRUTH makes one a member of the combined opposition. PLP FTW LOL.

    Good article.

  4. Chris Gibbons says:

    Good points, Colin – but then knowing your passion for a revived technical institute and dedication to young people, I would expect nothing less! Just hope they start listening to you!