In case you missed it in last week’s deluge of back to school stories, NPR did a segment about the need for more welders that included the claim that the lack of trained welders was due to NCLB and its focus on math and reading. USA Today education reporter and EWA board member Greg Toppo seemed skeptical that the claim should have been included in the NPR piece without a response or some sort of contextualization for listeners:

Here’s the section in question – the “kicker” (ending) of the piece, which currently has 230 comments:

“Carrick blames U.S. education policy for the lack of skilled labor. Think No Child Left Behind.

“We made the decision that all kids should go to college and as a result you saw the elimination of a lot of the technical programs at the high school level,” he says.

Carrick’s group is pushing for more skills training and programs that make manufacturing careers attractive to teenagers. And many companies have started their own apprenticeship programs.

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Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at