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School Guidance Counselors: "We're Innocent"

March 7, 2000

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True or false: The shortage of heavy-duty mechanics is caused by high school guidance counselors who steer children away from careers in the trades?
More than a few fleet executives would reply "true" most emphatically.
But it turns out fleets and guidance counselors may have a lot in common.
"I will tell you that we are as frustrated as you are by the push to send all children to college," said Nancy Perry, executive director of the American School Counselor Association in Alexandria, VA. Perry spoke to Heavy Duty Trucking magazine for a story on the mechanic shortage.
"We believe every child should have the opportunity to go to college if that is what they want to do," said Perry. "But it should be an individual decision and they should do it with the information about the career opportunities out there and what education and training is needed.

"Our frustration is that states are giving report cards to schools on how many students they send to college. School boards therefore put pressure on counselors to send kids to college.
"Parents believe if you recommend anything other than college you are limiting their child and depriving them of their rights. It's a vicious circle, a catch-22."
Coverage of the mechanic shortage will appear in the April issue of Heavy Duty Trucking.

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