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School to Work

            Phyllis Schlafly, author of “School-to-Work Will Train, Not Educate,” (1997) takes a firm stand against school-to-work programs in elementary and secondary schools. To support her position, Schlafly mentions Marc Tucker’s “cradle-to-grave” plan and points out that this system would simply train children to enter the workforce without giving them a chance to choose their own career (WRAC 70). She goes as far as to say that this kind of training is similar to the training of a dog. She also claims that STW will require children to begin training as early as elementary school and questions an elementary student’s ability to make a logical career choice. Schlafly indicates that STW programs are implemented by a government hoping to control the state’s “pot of money” (WRAC 72). She also declares that such programs would rob students of privacy, individuality, and a traditional education. .
             In her article, Schlafly fails to specify the style of STW she is addressing. While a program that simply trains young children to do a certain job probably would not be successful, a system that allows high school students to receive hands-on training in a field of their choice has proved beneficial, often resulting in academic achievement, better jobs, and higher hourly wages for participants. Schlafly implies that all STW programs are designed specifically to train mindlessly, labeling the system a “training of students to move them into predetermined jobs” (WRAC 71). While a few programs may indeed apply this procedure, Schlafly hints that all STW programs function as the inferior ones she describes; Schlafly finds plenty to attack about STW, but she never addresses what she feels the system needs to be successful. Nevertheless, of the allegations Schlafly makes are legitimate although her hostile tone makes one wonder how biased and narrow-minded any of her claims might be.