Educational Editorial: College access

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This week discussions with two groups have reminded me to look at an old issue, college access, through different lens.

The traditional perspective has been that elementary and secondary schools are charged with the responsibility to prepare young people to go to college or to work.

On Monday I spoke to the House Education Committee and was asked if I had looked at the issue of college access in Virginia.

Yesterday I met with the Virginia Crop Production Association and listened to a discussion about genetically altered seed corn that naturally resists pests; therefore, less dependent on chemicals… a wonderful lesson in economic and environmental stewardship.

I grew up in the middle of farming. My grandmother, one of the hardest working human beings that I have ever known, would take me to the hen houses where we would gather, clean, sort, and package eggs from 300 chickens. Feeding cows and hogs, planting and harvesting, and preparing for market were very natural.

However, on a blistering July day while using a pitchfork to hand broadcast chicken manure from the back of a wagon, I had an epiphany -- I am going to college -- and the rest is history!

While many high schools keep score based on how many students go to four-year colleges, don't they really want to know how many have jobs? Parents clearly want their children to get an education, but most of all they want them to produce revenue.

Everyone needs more education and those who have attained a college degree should be proud, but it is not the only ticket to a successful career.

The next time you need a plumber, electrician, auto mechanic or the "Geek Squad," check the credentials -- and the hourly rate.

(c) 2010. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.