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Opinion Letters The value of a liberal education

Bob Wilson's recent column in another local publication condemning a liberal college education is full of contradiction and misinformation. The point he tried to make was that today's very expensive college degree should be focused on a student's future earning potential. No one can disagree with that.

Mr. Wilson says he agrees with Governor McCrory that all college education should be focused on getting a job, not some silly liberal arts degree. The trouble with that idea is that no one knows what kind of a job he or she will have in 10 years.

A Bureau of Labor statics study reports that the average American worker will change jobs 11 times in his career. Many of these changes involve complete different kinds of employment. So if one goes to college and studies for a particular kind of job, chances are that within a few years that education will be worthless.

Of course a degree in computer science, or medicine will produce great job prospects, but few will become Doctors or engineers or scientists. The vast majority of future employees will need an education that will prepare them for many different kinds of jobs. They will need an education that will prepare them to think clearly, and be able to adapt to whatever jobs are available. That is the definition of a liberal arts degree!

Mr. Wilson can make fun of all the silly courses on "Dogs and People" he wants, but, if you end up working in a Veterinarians office that one class (likely a one semester, 3 hr. credit elective) might get you a raise. As he says, "The analytical and critical thinker will always win”. His apparent personal definition of “analytical and critical” thinking appears skewed. No, make that contradictory.

In his attempt to take a cheap shot at "liberal" education he completely missed Governor McCrory's point. As a true hard right ideologue the Governor wants the colleges in his state to produce good reliable worker bees for his corporate funders. Critical thinkers, independent minded employees, are usually more trouble than they are worth.

Shirley Ches — Franklin, N.C.





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