Shop Class Fades From American Curriculums


California schools are eliminating shop classes from their curriculum in an attempt to abide by University of California and California State college "a-g" requirements. The requirements intent is to ensure that students will be able to fully participate in the first-year class offerings in a wide range of fields of study, according to Forbes.

Shop classes, such as woodworking, metalworking, sewing, cooking, etc., are not part of the requirements, and 90% of those classes have been cut from the Los Angeles Unified School District. The high school administration are evaluated on their ability to prepare students for college, so their priorities are not focused on classes that don't fall under the accreditation requirements, even though approximately 75% of California students will not attend college.

The UC/CA State system prefers theory of study to applied skills, and does not find the classes a priority because they see the skills taught are a last resort when people have run out of options.

According to Forbes: "This trend isn't limited to California, according to John Chocholak who has testified in front of California State Assembly and Congress on the subject of shop class, he is seeing shop class killed in Florida, Wisconsin, Texas and many other states. Shop class is dead and so are the potential trades people that would be born out of that early exposure to a tool or machine."

Business section: Investing ideas
So without the early experience with shop classes, students will not know whether they want to pursue a career in carpentry, welding, etc. Instead, they might begin college and find out that they aren't fit for it, and possibly take out loans to do so without the ability to pay them back.

There will no doubt be a greater effect by the curriculum changes on the future workforce and skilled laborers coming out of school. It will also likely have an effect on the tools and accessories industry in the future.

Use Kapitall's tools to analyze some of the small tools & accessories companies that might take a hit in revenue from the trend. Do you think these names will be hurt by the decrease in skilled workers? (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Sears Holdings (NAS: SHLD) : Operates as a retailer in the United States and Canada. Market cap at $5.57B, most recent closing price at $49.95. Sells Craftsman tool line.

2. Makita (NAS: MKTAY) : Manufactures and sells a range of electric power tools worldwide. It offers drills that are used to drill metals, woods, and plastics, which include pistol-grip drills, D-handle drills, spade-handle drills, and angle drills, as well as cordless drills and cordless driver drills; grinders comprising portable disc grinders and bench grinders used for smoothing and finishing on metal; sanders that include disc sanders, orbital sanders, and belt sanders for smoothing and finishing on metal, wood, stone, and concrete; and rotary hammers for the construction industry. Market cap at $4.66B, most recent closing price at $33.57.

3. Lincoln Electric Holdings (NAS: LECO) : Through its subsidiaries, manufactures welding and cutting products worldwide. Market cap at $4.07B, most recent closing price at $47.43.

4. Snap-on: Manufactures and markets tools, diagnostics, equipment, software, and service solutions for professional users in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan, France, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, China, and Sweden. Market cap at $3.5B, most recent closing price at $59.64.

5. Toro Co. (NYS: TTC) : Designs, manufactures, and markets professional turf maintenance equipment and services worldwide. Market cap at $2.24B, most recent closing price at $73.42.

6. Simpson Manufacturing Co. (NYS: SSD) : Engages in the design, engineering, manufacture, and sale of building products. Market cap at $1.35B, most recent closing price at $27.28.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

Kapitall's Danny Guttridge does not own any of the shares mentioned above.

At the time thisarticle was published Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Simpson Manufacturing. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.