Chal­lenges for poor stu­dents

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

The Oct. 18 front-page ar­ti­cle “Grad­u­at­ing, but to what?” de­scribed poor stu­dents strug­gling to tran­si­tion from high school to em­ploy­ment or higher ed­u­ca­tion. I com­mend Jadare­ous Davis for seek­ing a ca­reer path as a diesel me­chanic that will pay him “real money,” but I am con­cerned about a $30,000 stu­dent loan debt to earn a vocational cer­tifi­cate. Free or af­ford­able ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion at pub­lic high schools and ju­nior and com­mu­nity col­leges re­mains one of this coun­try’s best-kept se­crets.

Like many who are raised in poverty, Mr. Davis strug­gles with min­i­mal fam­ily sup­port, eco­nomic dis­tress and de­fi­cient soft skills, in­clud­ing ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and depend­abil­ity. While many tried to help Mr. Davis along the way, Lin­coln Tech reached out proac­tively to en­roll him, and I com­mend the school for do­ing so.

How­ever, I wish adults had en­gaged Mr. Davis in ca­reer con­ver­sa­tions sooner. A tech­ni­cal high school might have bet­ter en­gaged him in learn­ing. He lived less than 36 min­utes from In­di­anola Ca­reer and Tech Cen­ter, a pub­lic high school that of­fers nu­mer­ous pro­grams, in­clud­ing au­to­mo­tive ser­vice tech­nol­ogy. The tu­ition at East Mis­sis­sippi Com­mu­nity Col­lege is only $1,200 per se­mes­ter, and stu­dents in a six-county dis­trict can at­tend tu­ition­free.

I en­cour­age par­ents, teach­ers and school ad­min­is­tra­tors to talk to all stu­dents about ca­reers, start­ing in mid­dle school or sooner. Stu­dents could try a ca­reer and tech­ni­cal class in an area that in­ter­ests them, and it may be the start of a mean­ing­ful ca­reer.

Tim Lawrence, Leesburg The writer is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Skill­sUSA.

I can­not get past the law-break­ing, churl­ish­ness and un­will­ing­ness to ful­fill job re­quire­ments shown by the young man pro­filed. I would not hire him — no mat­ter his race, creed, re­li­gion or sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. He doesn’t seem to care or un­der­stand that bosses need a per­son to show up on time and ful­fill ba­sic re­quire­ments. I see no tragedy here, just an­other (de­lib­er­ate, on the young man’s part) waste of po­ten­tial.

Cyn­thia Neu­jahr, Sev­ern

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.