An Appreciated Emphasis on Training

By October 18, 2007Education and Training

More good things to say about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today, this time in salute to his emphasis on vocational training and community colleges. From Dan Walters of The Sacremento Bee, a column full of apt descriptions and keen insight:

Whatever else he accomplishes, or fails to accomplish, during his topsy-turvy governorship, Arnold Schwarzenegger has served two interrelated and worthy causes very well – raising the standing of community colleges and bringing vocational training out of the educational attic.

Schwarzenegger went through such training – as a salesman – when he was a high school student in Austria and later attended Santa Monica Community College.

And another key point, one that the NAM and manufacturers across the country return to time and again:

State policies have stressed college prep work at the K-12 level, even though a relative handful of high school students will eventually obtain four-year degrees, and local officials have denigrated, and even closed down, voc-ed offerings. One consequence, surely, has been to raise the state’s already scandalously high dropout rate as students with the potential to become auto mechanics, construction workers and other well-paid blue-collar workers are told, implicitly, to get lost by many local school systems.

Read the whole thing.

As for the governor, he appears to be one of those businessmen-turned-politicians who is greatly informed by his time in the private sector. He has vetoed many bills that would make day-to-day operations of a business even more of an expensive headache, or more likely, drive more employers out of the state.

Yet for all his sensible approaches toward business, Schwarzenegger also embraces grand statist schemes, particularly in adopting policies — many based on the belief that man-made global warming is real, and man can curb it — making energy prohibitively expensive.

Why such inconsistency? Presumably the Hollywood hype and green-hued adulation that accompany his anti-warming actions appeal to a former movie star. And the jobs-destroying consequences are too abstract, too far off in the future to be absorbed into his more mundane business experiences.

See, on one level he’s topsy, and on the other, he’s turvy. But on community colleges, he’s rock solid.

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