As an Arkansas educator, I read with interest the article “Clinton Revenue Proposal Would Increase School Aid’’ (Feb. 4, 1987), describing Gov. Bill Clinton’s efforts to raise money to fund education.
What was omitted was his proposal to reduce the state’s contribution to the Arkansas State Teacher Retirement System from 13.5 percent to 11.5 percent, and to put the money saved into the state budget.
Our state’s educators, among the lowest paid in the United States, have too long subsidized education in Arkansas.
Laura Jane Colber
I have just finished reading “Job Training Not a Job for Schools’’ (Commentary, Feb. 18, 1987). I found the essay faintly amusing at first, but after further thought, I became very concerned about Wellford Wilms’s attitude toward vocational education.
Unless I am mistaken, the purpose of our education system is to provide each person with an opportunity to be educated to the best of his abilities and thereby strengthen our nation. It is also provided to allow freedom of choice in a student’s future career.
I have also been under the impression, for the last 30 years, that all education is vocational in nature. Didn’t your doctor acquire his license through a realistic, practical approach? Why then cannot vocational education in schools be just as important to an individual who wants to be a machinist or auto mechanic as an academic education is to a person who wishes to pursue a career in medicine?
The vocational-education programs that I am familiar with are not narrow in scope, but allow students to prepare for a number of “clusters’’ or related occupations surrounding the one for which they are studying. These clusters are important to remember because they do give vocational graduates a broad career choice.
Would Mr. Wilms want all business and industry to provide its own training? Has he given thought to the additional cost that he might pay at the auto-repair garage if the entire training of mechanics had to be paid for by the garage owner?
I am deeply concerned that the academic community and the career/vocational-education community can’t seem to join hands in an effort to improve education as a whole.
Director, Adult and Vocational Education
North Lawrence Vocational-Technical Center
A version of this article appeared in the March 11, 1987 edition of Education Week as Letters to the Editor