Even in a recession, community colleges aren’t just for job training, writes Walt Gardner in Education Week. The academic mission is important too.
Chicago will make community colleges the “first choice for high-skill job training” rather than a “last ditch effort for remedial education,” writes Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (subscribers only) touting his College to Careers initiative.
Community colleges “provide the general education that is considered a prerequisite for personal growth and participation in a free society, and that satisfies the requirements for transfer to four-year institutions,” responds Gardner.
Emanuel says welders can make $45 an hour, but employers can’t find enough skilled workers.
That could change in five years, writes Gardner.
Even within seemingly recession-proof fields, change is inevitable. This is where the critical thinking skills of a general education are indispensable.
Emanuel says nothing about vocational education in high school, notes Gardner. Our competitors offer vocational education options as “worthy alternatives,” while “we persist in the fiction that everyone is college material.”