Until the last decade, colleges refused to assume responsibility for how their graduates did in life. They maintained that was not their job. But now their position is being challenged as increasing numbers of low-income black and Hispanic students are enrolled (“The K-12 revolution to watch: Some schools help kids get through college, others don’t,” New York Daily News, Jan. 15).
I understand the rationale behind the movement, but I think the reason the problem exists in the first place is that not all students are college material. Yet despite this reality, too many are being counseled to apply to a four-year college or university when they would be far better served by getting a certificate at a community college, coupled with an apprenticeship.
Colleges are not the place to learn a trade. They exist primarily to transmit academic knowledge. We can argue all day about the value of doing that in today’s fast-changing world. But colleges have never misled students about what they offer. It’s the students who have misread their mission. So rather than turn colleges into job-placement centers, I suggest giving more respect and support to vocational education in high school.
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