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In praise of a vocational education [Letter]

Nancy Reigle in her letter, "Is vocational education still a possibility for Maryland?" (April 10), is right on time with her remarks about students being forced to feel they must go to college, presumably to "better themselves." Not every student is college material. Heaven knows we already have far too many lawyers, doctors, computer "experts," etc. to find work. Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing shabby about being a worker who is "gainfully employed" and making an honest living.

One can say of "computer experts" of late are not so "expert" given all the horror stories at the federal, state and local levels of computer programming.

We do need more plumbers, electricians, contract workers, hair dressers, etc. All areas which require at least a high school diploma.

I graduated with great pride from Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School. I was lucky enough to have taken business courses with good teachers who told me if I had a skill, I would always have a job. How true!

My niece recently had to pay a small fortune to learn how to be a "medical technician." At Mervo, we had a course on practical nursing which gave a student the same training for free. No loans had to be paid back.

Many of Mervo's graduates furthered their educations by attending college after the were secure in the work place. As most people think, vocational schools are not for "dummies." They are for people who need or want to get into the work world immediately.

Now subjects like typing and television repair are no longer needed due to technology, but we still need people to do the jobs already mentioned.

Children seem to have been drilled with the idea that they must be "successful" and the only way to be successful is to graduate from a college. Even though a college degree does not equate to a graduate who has the ability to read, spell, write, add or even has adequate communication skills to survive let alone advance in any workplaces.

Educators and parents need to recognize that it is time to get back to very basic skills of making a living. Instead of being forced to take college preparatory classes, students must be forced to stay in school until a diploma is earned. No child should be allowed to leave school without a diploma. None.

Kathy Raymond

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