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[Susan notes: This is critical point: We need to honor people's work--whatever it is. We need to pay people a living wage. This includes people who work in fast food industry.]

Submitted to USA Today but not published

To the editor

USA Today reports that one reason there is a shortage of construction workers is because parents and administrators are over-promoting college and high-tech fields. This has resulted in a decline in practical courses offered at community college and less enrollment.

The new Common Core standards will make things worse. Schools should include literature, but as Susan Ohanian points out, the new elitist language arts standards are clearly designed for college English majors. Forcing all high school students to read and dissect works such as Ovid's Metamorphoses will be useful and interesting for only a tiny minority.

John Gardner, Former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, tried to warn us years ago: The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

Stephen Krashen

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