Education should adjust to needs of economy

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I spent two years on a California task force looking at education, and in particular vocational education. I have a few suggestions for our educational gurus. With four-year college tuitions skyrocketing, and people putting their future in hock to pay these costs, I still hear the school administrators, the politicians and the media pushing for everybody to go to college. I don’t actually hear the words “you must get a four-year degree or you’ll be a nobody”, but that is what I take from many of the pronouncement regarding higher education. These statements turn off lots of student because they may not feel that they have the grades, the desire, or the money to go for a four-year degree (or more). What gets overlooked in most discussions on higher education is the fact that only about 27 percent of the jobs in California or the U.S. require a four-year degree. Another 60 percent require some additional education or training, i.e. community colleges or vocational schools, which are less expensive and get you into the job market several years sooner. The knowledge and skills provided by community colleges and vocational schools are absolutely critical to our economy and many pay very well. Without these skills, our economy would grind to a halt. What would it take for the powers that be to start thinking about the knowledge and skill the economy needs versus what the educational elite think it needs. Don Perera, Rocklin