Vo-Tech is underutilized because too many of us believe that college is the only road to success

Letters to the Editor

March 31, 2011 — Thank you Greg Marx for your article on the need to restore vocational education programs.

I work at a high school in a very affluent community. The teachers here and the resources available are among the very best. Yet, we have students here who hate school. These kids are smart and very capable. However, they have a kind of intelligence that does not match the demands of the curriculum and the methods of instruction.

Educators and psychologists have identified many different types of intelligence. Our schools tend to focus on only one — verbal. Kids who can understand, manipulate, and produce complex language thrive in this environment. Others, who lack these skills, may barely survive so that they can graduate.

Sadly, I am seeing an increase in the number of students who are refusing to come to school. These are talented kids who are so overwhelmed by the verbal demands of their classes that they feel inadequate and stupid. These are kids who, given a vocational technical education, could become great scientists and successful engineers. Yes, they do need to read, write, and communicate. However, our consistent daily focus on their weaknesses — without building on their strengths — wears them down. They leave school and we all lose.

So why don’t we change our curriculum? There is an outstanding voc-tech school two miles down the road. This program is underutilized because too many of us believe that college is the only road to success.

Barbara C. Goodman (Arlington, Massachusetts)

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