Letter: College Isn’t for Everyone
To the Editor:
In a recent WCAX television interview, the Vermont education commissioner announced that the statewide bubble-chart standardized tests called NECAP will be replaced with tests that require every student to sit in front of a computer. The tests will tell all 11th-graders whether they are “college ready” or not.
That’s just great. Let’s find another way adults can make children feel like losers.
Not all kids want to go to college, and they should not be subjected to labels that say how far up the ladder toward college they have managed to get.
One of the reasons I decided to become a high school teacher in Vermont and taught here for 25 years is because Vermont is still a place where working with your hands is honorable work. Many of my former English students have become successful craftsmen, contractors, farmers, mechanics, restaurant workers, computer technicians, small business managers, even business owners, without going to college.
There are many ladders in the world, not just a single “college-bound” ladder.
Gov. Shumlin and before him, Govs. Douglas and Dean, have gone off and become big-shots at the National Governors Conferences, which intoxicated them with heady ideas like “all kids in high school should be trained to go to college.” Let’s call this idea exactly what it is: an attempt to turn Vermont into New York.
Vermont has too much dignity and self respect to sell its Green Mountain soul to the devil of city-fication just because our governors have been enticed to do so by the National Governors Conference.
Parents and taxpayers should refuse to allow children to be labeled “college ready” or “not college ready” by the new tests that seek to homogenize, standardize and demoralize wholesome Vermont children. What we need is a national apprenticeship program to compete with college. I say this as someone who has four college degrees myself. Public education needs the beauty and freedom of more dirt roads that lead to wholesome work, not the standardized boredom of one super-highway to college.
Paul D. Keane