Response to Blue-Collar Brilliance

Both of this week’s readings  by Miah Arnold and Mike Rose were very touching and interesting. In “Blue-collar Brilliance” Mike Rose makes strong arguments against the societal notion that blue-collar workers are unintelligent and have low social ranking. Rose talks about his mother Rosie, a waitress. He talks about his childhood going into the restaurant in which his mother worked, watching her manage the customers and keep the food orders and the entire place orderly. He learned that blue-collar work is both physically and emotionally draining, and that workers learn to make their every move count. He also talks about his Uncle Joe’s job as a foreman for General Motors, and how his  job was a daily learning experience that required cognitive skills and reasoning.

What I found most interesting was Rose’s take on intelligence testing and the modern education system, which relies heavily on the quantifiable and does not take into consideration all types of cognitive abilities. Rose states that there are many kinds of cognition, from everyday cognitive abilities to spatial reasoning to artistic abilities. Intelligence is not limited to literacy and mathematical skills, and by considering other kinds of intelligence unimportant we as a society are devaluing entire populations in the workforce and creating a social class dichotomy among members of society. This was really interesting because I have done research about education and intelligence testing, and how universities and colleges put too much emphasis certain types of intelligence and on SATs/test scores, which themselves are flawed and do not even accurately assess scholastic ability.

I found this interesting interview on Youtube about unemployment and education in America today. Mike Rowe talks about how blue-collar work is abundant, 3 million jobs to be exact, but that there are no enough skilled or interested applicants for them because many young people fear that blue-collar work does not pay well or is unstable. Meanwhile, student loan debt is on the rise while the job market for STEM and other popular fields of work are becoming more and more competitive. It is a very eye-opening video!

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