Address by Floyd T. Christian to Manatee County Teachers - August 19, 1966


Material Information

Address by Floyd T. Christian to Manatee County Teachers - August 19, 1966
Physical Description:
Christian, Floyd T.
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box: 1
Folder: Address to Manatee County Teachers - August 19, 1966


Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Bradenton

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
sobekcm - AA00006395_00001
System ID:

Full Text
Address to Manatee County Teachers
By Floyd T. Christian, State Superintendent
Bradenton, Florida
Friday, August 19, 1966 -- 8:30 a.m.

The most certain aspect of the world in which we live today is its

uncertainty. The most permanent aspect is its lack of permanence. And

the most changeable aspect is change itself.

The old saying used to be that the only things we could be sure

of were death and taxes. We need to add one more: and that's change.

For we can be certain of change. Nothing stands still and nothing

remains the same.

The most striking thing about change, as I look back over these

last two decades, is not only change itself -- but the intensity and

rapidity and speed of the change which is taking place -- the rate of


In some sixty short years, for instance, man has increased the

speed with which he can travel from 60 miles per hour to 15,000 miles

per hour. He has replaced the ditch digger with the power shovel ...

the horse with the tractor ... and the wireless with world-wide television.

He has reduced the work week, from sunup to sundown to 40 hours a week

and less -- and has made great strides in conquering outer space.

The changes come so fast, it seems that some of us try to make

believe they didn't happen, or try to ignore them. But there's one

change we cannot ignore -- and that's the change in the way we make our

living, for that affects the lives of every one of us, and intimately,

in our homes and in our pocketbooks. Let's look at this for a few


- 2 -

1. The work which man does for a living has changed.

Thousands of workers have been displaced by automation, and more

will be displaced. An estimated 5,000 jobs disappear from the labor

market every day, and these are replaced by a smaller number of jobs,

all of them requiring new and more complex skills.

The U. S. Department of Labor estimates that four out of every

five persons will have to go back to some kind of school, to improve

his present vocational skill or to learn a new skill for a new job.

Those of us in the professions, such as teachers and doctors and

dentists, have always known the need to go back to school to learn the

latest techniques and discoveries. A teacher educated in the early

forties would be lost in the classroom today, if she only knew what she

had learned in college then -- just as a doctor educated ten or twenty

years ago is handicapped if he doesn't keep up with the new drugs

and new advances in surgery. It is well known that 90 percent of all

the drugs in use today have been discovered in the last ten years.

Now, it's everybody's turn.

2. The relationship between man and his job and his education has

also changed.

Early man taught his sons and daughters all there was to know

about how to live and how to survive. The vocation of the young person

was usually determined by that of his father. A farmer's son became a

farmer, a shoemaker's son a shoemaker, and a nobleman's son a noble --

a decision often made by the accident of birth -- and not by the desires

of the son or the needs of the community.

- 3 -

And father was the teacher. Or if not father, a neighborhood

craftsman to whom the son served as an apprentice -- the original

on-the-job training. The son's education was relatively simple. The

skills he learned were the same skills his father had learned before

him, and his father before him, and down through the ages. The changes,

when there were changes, came slowly.

Today, of course, this is all different. The son is free to pursue

the vocation of his choice. The learning never stops, but continues

throughout his adult life.

And, perhaps more important, the community in which he lives has

an interest and a stake in his success. He must have the skills to be

self-supporting -- or he becomes the responsibility of society. The

community must have use of the skills he does have -- for it takes the

efforts of the total population to make our system function well.

The responsibility for meeting these needs has been given to your

schools. And we, in Florida, have accepted that responsibility.

I think you'll be interested to know that Florida's vocational

education program, conducted in high schools, vocational schools,

adult centers, and junior colleges, is the fastest-growing in the nation.

Since 1954-55, vocational enrollments in Florida schools have more

than doubled, from 327,000 to 695,000. In the next ten years, we

anticipate that the total will reach nearly 1,140,000 -- or approximately

one in seven of the total projected population.


And we are not going to be caught short -- we are making the plans

now and a great deal of work is underway.

On the drawing boards and under construction are new vocational-

technical facilities totaling $16,000,000, made possible by an

appropriation of the 1965 Session, and supplemented by a federal

appropriation of $2,433,687 for last year and $3,021,000 for this year.

I feel confident that this is only the beginning; additional state

and federal funds for construction can be expected in the years ahead.

We are building a vocational-technical network of area schools in

Florida, to place the opportunities of vocational-technical education

within commuting distance of every adult in the state.

Twenty-nine area vocational-technical schools have been designated.

Nine of them are now open, serving the vocational-technical needs

of their areas.

A year from now, five additional area schools will be ready to open.

One of them will be your own $715,000 center here in Manatee County.

When these 14 area schools are in operation, we will be serving counties

containing over 3 1/4 million persons, or approximately 57 percent of

the total population of the state.

I want to compliment your superintendent and his staff and all of you

who have had any part in planning this expanded vocational program.

It seems destined to be outstanding, based as it is on surveys of

student and community needs ... surveys, I might add, which were

conducted both by local school officials and by the State Department

of Education's Division of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education.

5 -

It is heartening to know that the programs to be offered initially --

in food service, auto mechanics, machine shop, dental assistance, farm

tractor and machinery mechanics, and office occupations -- are truly

responsive to student interests, and attuned to the opportunities

available in your own backyard.

When all 29 of Florida's area vocational-technical schools are

in operation, we will be serving 40 counties with a combined population

of more than 4 1/2 million persons, or approximately 83 percent of the

state's population.

Even then, obviously, we will continue to do more. We will have

to do more, until similar opportunities are available to every Florida


Of the 29 new area schools -- 8 of them are part of existing junior

colleges ... 18 of them are new schools, located and built to serve the

needs of a particular geographical area in need of vocational education...

and 3 of them are existing vocational technical schools to which capital

outlay improvements and additions will be made.

In addition, of course, vocational education is presently offered,

and will continue to be offered, in high schools and vocational-technical

schools which are not designated as area schools, but which serve only

the county in which they are located. And many junior colleges, not

designated as area schools, offer vocational and technical education

courses as part of the regular junior college program.

- 6 -

But, we are not building a new empire of vocational education,

separate and apart from the total school program.

The area schools are located only after extensive surveys of

educational needs. They are operated under the county school systems -

with state leadership and support, but with local control. And they

are dove-tailed into the local and state education efforts.

Florida's concept of vocational-technical education is not to

separate, but to pull together.

The student who elects the purely academic route, can benefit by

exposure to vocational-technical skills -- for somewhere along the way

he will make a vocational decision and the exposure to vocational skills

will serve him in good stead. And the vocational-technical student,

who may have already made his decision -- must participate in the full

social and political life of the community and needs academic skills,

in addition to the skills with which he makes his living.

We might need a redefinition of terms. The term "liberal education,"

usually used to talk about academic subjects -- as against the term,

"vocational education," usually used to describe job training -- are

both a little out-of-date and misleading.

For there is really nothing "liberal" about an education which is

restricted to just the hard core subjects like math and English and

foreign languages, and we fall short of the "vocational" if the education

is limited solely to learning how to do the job and nothing else.


And, it's also a little confusing. Music is considered a part of

a "liberal education" -- but for the boy who intends to play in the

band as his career, isn't music "vocational?" A carpentry course is

termed "vocational education" -- but for the man who never goes on to

become a carpenter and just uses the skill to repair things around the

house, isn't the carpentry course "liberal?"

A liberal education, to me, is really any education program which

broadens a man's outlook and expands his abilities -- regardless of the

particular name of the course.

Maybe we should combine the terms "liberal-vocational." Or, even

better, discard them both, for they are misleading and tend to be


For, after all, it is all education. Our job is to educate, to

teach, to help people learn -- and our purpose is the same, regardless

of the name of the course or the particular skills involved. The

"name of the game" is education.

Now, I want to talk to you as one educator to another about the

importance of recognizing the value of vocational and technical education

to our young people and to our society.,

There is no excuse for any one of us to support in any way the

once-popular notion that vocational education is some kind of second-

class program, or a dumping ground for the student who doesn't do well

in his academic subjects.

- 8 -

We know that not all students are equipped to be scientists,

mathematicians or foreign language experts. And we're lucky that this

is so, because as great as our need may be for increased numbers of

college-trained personnel, our need for craftsmen and technicians

is greater.

For every trained scientist, engineer, teacher or other college

graduate, American society needs a battery of skilled people to carry

out plans, apply theories, operate machines and so forth. We all

know that this is true, and we cannot afford to give less attention to

the abilities and interests of the students who are not academically


As teachers, we have a clear responsibility to each and every

student, to assess his talents accurately and unromantically, to match

them with available opportunities and community needs, and to guide

him toward reasonable goals.

By guidance, I mean more than providing specialists to administer

and evaluate tests, or to counsel troubled students. I mean active,

day-to-day guidance---inspiration, if you wish---offered to every

student by every member of our profession with whom he comes into

contact, in the classroom, the office, the cafeteria, the gym or the


If any of us thinks that society places greater value on the college

graduate, a closer look is in order. There is a great deal of social

emphasis on college degrees, I know, but that isn't the only measure of

success in America. In fact, we usually hear that money is the dominant

yardstick, and we either deny it or deplore it. Certainly we would

agree, however, that wealth is one measure of success in our society.

- 9 -

Now, just consider some average salaries. A plumber makes $8,950

a year. A truck driver makes $8,300. A beginning mechanical technician

makes $8,136. None of these occupations requires college training.

Take some occupations that do: The average anthropologist makes

$5,600 a year; the average geologist, $6,500, and, unfortunately, the

average for instructional personnel in Florida schools last year, $6,600.

All have college degrees and are considered professional people. But

are they more successful than the plumber?

Clearly, on the financial yardstick, a college degree is not

essential to measuring up.

If we are willing to pay our craftsmen and technicians as well as

we pay our professional people, and in some cases better, then

considering them second-rate smacks of nothing more than social or

intellectual snobbery.

And for us, as teachers, to let snobbery of any kind affect our

dealings with children would be unforgivable. To let snobbery influence

the way we guide and work with and influence our students would be a

tragedy, not only for .the students as individuals but for our free,

open, democratic society as a whole.

One other point I want to make: Just as all teachers must be

concerned equally with the education of all their students, so all of

us need to work together, coordinate our curricula and our guidance

programs, across subject lines and administrative barriers.

- 10 -

Just as no teacher should give preferential treatment or

attention to students whose goals appeal to him, so all teachers must

treat each other with mutual respect. There must be no caste system

in education. Teaching mathematics or English should not be considered

any more elite than teaching agriculture or office practices or TV repair.

If we are perceptive and mature in our approaches to the massive

educational tasks ahead, there will be no second-rate pursuits among

our students, no second string among our teachers, and no fighting

over funds and facilities for this field or that field.

The interests and abilities of our students and the needs of our

society will dictate the programs we offer, the staffing we provide,

the facilities we build, and the money we spend.

If we are doing our job, and doing it right, we will not have time

to fret about whether the junior college is stealing some thunder from

the adult-vocational-technical division of the school system, or vice

versa, or whether the social studies teacher is more highly respected

than the auto body repair teacher at a certain school. There should

be no low man on the educational totem pole.

There is more than enough work to go around. And we need to worry

only about whether our students are getting what they need from school

in order to function in the American society of the future, and in

order to keep that society functioning.

Remember, we in Florida are committed to the principle of education

above all and education for all. And we cannot permit ourselves to

indulge in efforts which do not contribute to the fulfillment of these