Letters to the Editor
Readers write about the importance of a college education.
How important is a college education?
Regarding Walt Gardner's Sept. 3 Opinion piece, "College is not a must": Although courses of study may be labeled "college prep," it does not mean that is necessarily the track the student needs to be on. It should be named "career prep," since the rigor of the studies is what the overwhelming amount of jobs require just to get by in today's world of work.
The inference made about "plumbers, electricians, and auto mechanics" not necessarily needing a strong secondary-education background is ridiculous. Most apprenticeships in these trades require Algebra I as a minimum requirement for entry. Show me an electrician who can get by on the job without the ability to transpose the formula for Ohm's law or a carpenter, plumber, pipe fitter, sheet-metal worker, or ironworker without the ability to use the Pythagorean theorem.
Reference to "our competitors abroad" understanding and accepting "the fact that students can have a productive and gratifying career even when they do not go on to some form of tertiary education" is misleading. The rigor in foreign education has been shown to be much higher than ours.
We need to do whatever it takes to have a workforce, at all levels, that is able to think, reason, and apply knowledge and skill to the jobs of today. It may not take a degree, but it definitely takes an education.
In response to the recent Opinion piece on precollege requisites: I have believed for a long time that the emphasis on a college degree for all children has not only led to frustration and fear for the kids, but can also cause damage to family relationships.
I have heard many middle school and high school teachers and guidance counselors mention manual occupations as examples of what the students will end up doing for the rest of their lives if they don't go to college.
Many of these youngsters have had parents or relatives in those occupations.