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The Nov. 25 Letter of the Day (“Something’s gotta give when it comes to college”), about the perceived lack of value of a four-year college degree, needed to mention the opportunities available at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges. I’ve visited many of them, and it is obvious that these two-year degree colleges are not the stigmatized old-fashioned schools of years ago. Students graduate with a placement rate near 100 percent in their fields of study with very good pay. High-tech companies with clean, well-lit facilities are standing in line to employ them. After getting a good-paying job, they can still complete a four-year degree. It is another option and deserves more attention.
State Sen. MARY KIFFMEYER, R-Big Lake
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Reading the Nov. 24 editorial (“A job-friendly course is right for MnSCU”), it seems that the only purpose of the education in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is to produce functionaries for employers. If this “skilled workers” model is the one that is to control MnSCU, it would seem wise to phase out a lot of our current curriculum. Art and crafts (pottery making, weaving, etc.); philosophy; history; social sciences (except those that have practical applications); any classes that involve the study of literature or poetry, and classes that focus on critical examination of society (politics, gender, race or power in society) — none of these are needed. Medtronic, 3M, Best Buy, Target or Hutchinson Technology can do without employees who understand differences between Impressionist art and cubism, or who can critically reason and understand the dynamics of maintaining control in institutions.
Following this model, we can eliminate the majority of liberal arts and social science courses, and the students can be efficiently prepared with mostly online courses to work in the corporate world of our future.
KARL WIELGUS, Richfield
He inspired hope in government? Horrors!
One is left to wonder what Steve Chapman intended to accomplish by criticizing the late President John Kennedy for leading people to imagine that their government can be a vehicle for improving the world (“The confidence man,” Nov. 22). Kennedy and government leaders (Democrat and Republican alike) throughout history have used rhetoric to encourage hope and inspire action. Indeed, Kennedy’s rhetoric, like no other’s, led (and continues to lead) countless people to believe that they themselves have the capacity to make the world a better place — something that Chapman’s cynicism will never do.
CHRIS WIGER, Minneapolis
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.