Once in a long while, the truth emerges about education in this country (“ ‘The Cult of Smart’ Review: Social Justice Goes to School,” The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 19). The reality is that not all students possess the same capacity to excel in school no matter how much help they are given. Intrinsic differences exist and are not amenable to significant change.
When I was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, I remember my Psychology 1 professor’s stressing the importance of little “g.” Yes, socioeconomic factors explain in part differences in scholastic achievement. But they do not play the exalted role that many people believe. Look around. There are students who come from dire poverty and yet excel academically. By the same token, there are students who come from affluence and yet are thick as a brick.
It’s time we accept these realities and accord vocational education the stature and respect it deserves. Learning a trade can mean a fulfilling and prosperous life. The wage premium historically attached to a college degree is much less today after the cost of attending a four-year institution is fully factored in.
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