Friday, January 15, 2010

Mike Rustigan Has His Head on Straight

by Daniel L. Bennett

Mike Rustigan has an excellent op-ed in the LA Times hammering away at American society's ill-conceived obsession with academic education, something that I am dismayed at daily. There are many people whose skill sets are just not cut out for academics, but have skills that would prove very valuable in a number of vocational trades. Yet, the "intellectuals" of society have stigmatized those who make a living in such professions as inferior beings, creating the notion that college is the only path to success. We need to alter this public perception and encourage our youth to pursue careers that will help them improve their standard of living and make needed contributions to society - we all need car repairs, plumbers and electricians on occasion. Here are some great quotes from Rustigan's piece:
Not every student needs to go to college. There are plenty of high school kids who find college-prep classes boring and irrelevant. Many drop out because they feel school is not preparing them for anything practical. Most of these kids are not lazy or defiant; they just want to work with their hands, learn a skill and pursue a solid, honorable, blue-collar trade after high school.

For too long, academic elites and politicians -- both Democrats and Republicans -- have oversold us on the necessity of getting a college degree. We have reached the point at which it has become almost un-American to admit that for a sizable number of our young people, college is a waste of time.

we are currently ignoring an important cadre of students who need something different.

to expect every high school student to meet university admission requirements is not only foolish, it is tyrannical.

the cynics keep telling us, nothing can be done with these lazy, low-achieving slackers because the root causes are broken homes and lousy parenting. Yet, in my experience, when you offer these same kids the right form of education, they flourish. The magic of learning something that is useful and relevant sparks a strong desire to achieve.

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