1101-391 Language and Identity.

Dylan Erazo                                                                                                        9/16/2018

English Comp 1                               Final Essay                                             Professor CH


        I believe that schools should reintroduce vocational skill classes in order to

prepare students for other opportunities outside of white collar professions. If schools

want people to succeed then they shouldn’t have the younger people all pointed in the

same direction. More options should be given so that students will have a chance to find

his/her calling. Not every student will want to work in an office when they are older.

Although today’s school system focuses on teaching students office style work, it would

bring more opportunity to have students learn hands on work.

       There are two types of work, you have blue collar work vs white collar work. Blue

collar work is more manual/hands on skilled labor. Whereas white collar work is the

work done in an office. The trades refers to work that deals with hands on material. In

the trades you learn a set of skills to execute certain hands on tasks. Author Michael B.

Crawford conveys, “skilled manual labor entails a systematic encounter with the

material world” on page 12. These days most people view workers of blue collar work

as how the author puts, “our cultural iconography we are given the muscled arm, sleeve

rolled tight against biceps, but no thought bright behind the eye, no image that links

hand and brain.”’ page 12. The typical stereotype for a blue collar worker is a man who

is strong but does not know very much. Which can be false because there is a world of

skilled workers even though trades are on the decline.

          There are many upsides in being a blue collar worker. If you like the idea of that

type of work then it would be suitable to you. Schools these days tend to frown upon

that type of work. As the author writes, “the hard-headed educator will say that it is

irresponsible to educate the young for the trades, which are somehow identified as the

jobs of the past.” page 8. Being a good tradesman can get you far in the blue collar

work. As the author puts, “This possibility was brought to light for many by the bestseller

The Millionaire Next Door, which revealed that the typical millionaire is the guy driving a

pickup, with his own business in the trades.” page 8. Thus showing that even in the

trades you can hit the millions in this type of work. This shows that blue collar work can

be a path to a good living.

              According to the article, “Shop Class as Soulcraft” by Matthew B. Crawford, it

states, “Today, in our schools, the manual trades are given little honor” page 11. When

the author says that “our schools” give “little honor” he refers to how schools cast a

shadow over the manual labor. The “manual trades” are often overlooked by school’s.

On the same page it also says, “The preferred role model is the management

consultant”. The representing “role model” is someone to take example from, a

“management consultant” which is a job that focuses on organizing business. This type

of job leans towards “white-collar” work which would be considered a role model in

schools. That is the type of work that school endorses on young people.

       Even growing up it always seemed our educational system often leaned towards

white collar work. Just in the set up of school you can tell it promotes office work, in

most of a students classes they are required to sit down in a chair with a desk in front of

them ready to execute work given on a sheet of paper. In high school the use of laptops

provided by the school was very common in accomplishing many assignments. In an

office job you are most likely required to sit behind a desk for a number of hours

executing work whether it be on paper or on a computer. In the article it says,”skilled

labor is becoming one of the few sure paths to a good living.” on page 8. This suggests

that manual/skilled labor is a pathway to success, if so then why wasn’t this type of work

given as an option or promoted more in school if it can help me succeed? I feel that

school systems should take into consideration all job opportunities and present them

equally to students so we realize what other job opportunities that there are.

         The negatives of blue collar work is that manual labor is being education in the

field is decreasing and skilled workers are replaceable. Matthew B. Crawford points out,

“Once the cognitive aspects of the job are located in a separate management class, or

better yet in a process that, once designed, requires no ongoing judgement or

deliberation, skilled workers can be replaced with unskilled workers at a lower rate of

pay.” page 19. Once the basic procedures and steps to finishing a job are acquired then

the job can be blueprinted or mapped out. Therefore allowing people to hire those who

are unskilled but can follow instructions which receive less money. That can be a

downside to the skilled tradesman. The author complains, “Given the intrinsic richness

of manual work, cognitively, socially, and in its broader psychic appeal, the question

becomes why it has suffered such a devaluation in recent years as a component of

education.” page 15. The manual work has faced criticism and been devalued by the

education system. The author is complaining that the trades are so important yet they

aren’t receiving proper recognition in this generation.

         Even though today’s school system primarily focuses on white collar work, would

blue collar work be beneficial to younger people? Everyone should be given equal

opportunity to engage in different career paths. Therefore it would be just that a school

system provides a variety of options rather than pointing people in the same direction of

work. Schools should promote all kinds of work and not cast a shadow over different

types of work other than white collared work.

Tags: Crawford

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