I am writing in response to the article written by Noah Smith regarding types of education. I applaud and totally agree with Noah and for the life of me, can’t figure out why the practice of vocational training in high schools was ever done away with! It saddens me to realize that common sense has died a slow death. Certainly we can bring it back. Young men and women some years ago were able to learn a vocation in high school and were prepared to start work when they graduated. I agree with Noah Smith that not all students are college material and there is no disgrace to that fact.

Why are politicians so out of touch with the rank and file and make outlandish proposals for free college for all. They are obviously not smart enough to know that the word free is loosely used and the definition of this is “paid by all working taxpayers whether they want to or not.” If you have worked 10 years or more in the real world, and unless perhaps you worked for Daddy, nothing is free, and when it’s earned, you feel so much better about yourself and take pride in your work! Our high schools used to produce qualified beauticians, entry carpenters and other mechanical jobs that often pay the same, if not more, than many college educated young people. I am recently retired and I often hired college graduates (who unfortunately often could not write a cohesive English grammar sentence without spell check).

We need the mechanics, the plumbers, the beauticians, and all the other vocations that are no longer taught in schools. I would guess that some college educated person made what they thought was a brilliant idea to remove these vocational classes. Shame on them and shame on people who want everything free! If that’s what you want young people, join the military and they will feed you, clothe you, and train you for a very important job.

Joy Hilton


(10) comments


Vocational education has and should always have a place. However, several traditional jobs require more technical background - think auto mechanic now compared with the 60-70's. For interesting stats on college enrollment and related, see https://www.bls.gov/news.release/hsgec.nr0.htm. About 70% of high school grads attend some type of 2 or 4 year school, leaving 30% not attending.


Most two hear colleges are exactly what the author wants and they go much farther in training than any high school. As far as free tuition, that is not a new idea, New York State had it prior to 1980.


In 2012 the Obama administration’s unveiled a vocational education partnership that revised the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act by investing an additional $1 billion to increase partnerships between high schools, colleges and employers, with the goal of directing students toward high-need industries such as engineering and healthcare, many opportunities requiring less then a college degree. That partnership has been dropped by Betsy DeVos, current Sec. of Education.


My kids both benefitted in high school from the relationship between FCPS and FCC - with internships and classes not offered in their high school.


There already is a robust vocational program in Frederick County: The FCPS Career and Technology Center (CTC) (https://education.fcps.org/ctc/home). I consider it the gem of FCPS. Students learn valuable trades and technology, all hands-on. Many students graduate with a position waiting for them in their field.

Any student can take a course at CTC, bus transportation is available from each high school, I believe. Oh, and CTC is holding an open house for prospective students on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 6pm.




"Vocational" training still exists along with other new career training programs. The public school system has many options for students at the Career Technology Center. The community college also offers lots of certificate and training programs at its campus and at the advanced training center located near the fairgrounds. These education and training options are available and probably more options exist today than ten or twenty years ago.


You are correct, FrederickFan, but we need a culture change from the message that everyone should take advanced mathematics and science, the SAT, go to college and that is the only way one can grab part of the American dream of a great job and thus, a great life. It is no longer acceptable to many students and parents to deviate from the prescribed plan and much too often we produce graduates who are not prepared to go to college or get a job that can lead to a career.





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