By: Bill Bosher
Virginian's believe that they have a strong higher education system. They also feel that it is safe and prepares young people for the world of work. They are less enthusiastic about the preparation of students in writing and communications. These results come from a poll released by the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute in the Wilder School at VCU.
Respondents feel that high school graduates are ready for college, but 67% did not believe that they are ready for work. Actually, 59% of Virginians indicated that it is more important to have knowledge and skills than to have a degree from a "well-respected" university.
Only three out of 10 believed that a college degree was important to success. Nearly eight out of ten rated four-year institutions and community colleges as excellent or good, but nearly 50% rated the quality of internet-based programs as fair or poor.
As with most slices of public opinion, perceptions of respondents are not necessarily accurate …or causal. They are perceptions with the aggregate of personal insights and interpretations that shape them.
As an example, virtual learning has gained popularity and credibility as medium for the delivery of instruction; however, respondents still see schools as bricks and mortar. In like terms Virginians believe that higher education is doing a great job, but is not the only road to meaningful work.
Common sense is perhaps the most likely resolution to this conflict: whether through college, military training, on the job experience, or technical schools, the key to a successful career is knowing what you are doing.