To the Editor:
We have consolidated technical education into one building - Cape May County Technical High School - and left the academic training in local communities. Shouldn't it be the opposite way? Aren't there more students who would benefit from vocational and technical training than academic training?
I attended Upper Township Elementary and Middle schools and Ocean City High School. At the time (1979-1983), most students attended local schools, and students needing low-level vocational training went to the technical high school.
There were lots of shop classes, drafting classes, home economics, sewing, business accounting, typing, and academic classes taught in high schools. Students could get a rather well-rounded education, but now it seems not to be the case.
For jobs available in South Jersey, isn’t vocation and business level knowledge more valuable?
Why is it necessary to go to college to get a good-paying job? I work in construction and most of the laborers are lacking in basic math and reading skills and critical thinking skills, which can all be taught and understood at the high school level.
Why are we trying to set people up for college while the local area has a larger need for more comprehensive, basic skills? Aren't we allocating our resources in a way that makes people’s lives more difficult economically and socially?
There are a handful of my high school friends who have managed to be educated and stay locally and work at successful jobs. Most left for other areas with more opportunities.
Almost no one has started their own business. Conversely, people come here from Pennsylvania and buy businesses and real estate and set up shops and do well. Why is that? Are they receiving better education and able to make a go of it while our people are not?
I think high school education needs to be more practical and focused on a thorough understanding of the basics, which doesn't mean spending more money per student.
Cape Issues should advocate for a reduction in regulations that require larger administration, get rid of the requirement for a three-year contract for superintendents, focus on the salaries the school administration gets, make sure the marketing budget for schools is near zero, and push for more charter schools.
Lastly, make sure the community college is offering business classes and technical training for jobs open in Cape May and Atlantic counties, as well as prerequisite classes for professional jobs, like nursing, teaching, accounting, and engineering.