Historically, the primary goal of America’s free public education system has been to develop a law-abiding, patriotic, literate population capable of participating intelligently in the democratic processes of this great country.

Vocational job training, a valid and essential secondary educational goal, when combined with the ultimate goal of our public schools, literate lifelong learners, will produce adults prepared to adjust to the political as well as economic challenges they will face upon entering adulthood. In many communities, especially communities in Central Oregon, vocational job training should not take a back seat to literacy, nor should literacy take a back seat to vocational job training. Strong emphasis must be placed on both outcomes, depending upon the individual student’s needs, capabilities and future goals.

However, vocational job training at the secondary level can never provide the specific skills required for every vocational occupation available in the real world. Therefore, general vocational skills combined with lifelong learning, the ability and desire to learn, must be the desired educational goal of our public schools.

Dick Phay