The letter, “Room for Enlightenment” (The Daily Astorian, Nov.22), caught my attention because I have long been concerned with the disappearance of not only arts and humanities, but also vocational offerings, in our public schools.

In the 1970s Astoria School District offered computer repair, auto mechanics, small engine repair, agriculture, woodworking, metal shop and carpentry (where students actually built houses). But even though these jobs still exist, the classes are gone.

If you look around the community, you will discover that most of those who make our world go do not have, nor do they need, a four-year college degree.

It seems natural that counselors pressure students to go to universities, because they have personally experienced success through higher education. However, most counselors or teachers have never had experience outside academia, and therefore don’t consider alternative tracks.

When I consider all of my former students who are happy and successful plumbers, carpenters, painters, equipment operators, chefs, truckers, sales-people, small business owners, etc., I wonder what the long-term effect this educational short-sightedness will be on the future of our country.


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