NOTE: This is a bit of a ramble, but stick with me on this.
Our view is that getting the license is similar to what I used to hear about driving. Get the license and then learn to be a driver, or in this case an Amateur Radio operator.
He goes on to say,
We are exploring the idea of more traditional classes aimed at filling in the gaps that were glossed over during the pre-exam review sessions. The model that seems to be coming together would be open to all interested regardless of license held. There would be no pressure or anxiety about taking an exam at the end. Topics would be chosen from the various license manuals with sessions held prior to our regular monthly meetings.
I agree completely with N2RQ. Having separate classes, a “ham cram” class for getting students their licenses and other classes to teach the newly-licensed about various aspects of ham radio, is the way to go. There’s simply no way to teach everything in a single class.
The flip side of this is that you need a corps of devoted instructors. Teaching classes takes a lot of time, and finding teachers to teach a whole course of classes is difficult. Finding good teachers, I think, is even harder. The ARRL either doesn’t see this as a problem, or just doesn’t have the will or the resources to do anything about it. That’s a shame, too, as I think this is a real need. Training is not only essential for newbies, but for us old farts as well.
What I’ve been advocating lately is that the sections should organize themselves more as a standalone nonprofit agency and less as a corps of volunteers. This nonprofit agency would have real funding sources and a core of paid staff. Relying on volunteers to do everything just isn’t getting the job done. As far as training goes, this agency would have a paid training coordinator, who would be responsible for developing classes to meet the needs of its “served agencies,” recruiting and training trainers, and scheduling classes. He or she might also teach classes. Depending on the situation, some of the trainers might also be paid for teaching classes.
I know this is kind of a pipe dream, but it’s my pipe dream, and I’m sticking to it. :)