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[Susan notes: The writer makes an important point that we should stop touting college as a way to make more money.]

Published in New York Times
01/20/2005

To the editor



Re "College Degree Still Pays but It's Leveling Off" (Business Day, Jan. 13):



Your analysis of the "value" of college degrees once again proves that America has some true learning to do before it can catch up to the intellectual level of the rest of the industrialized world.



I am tired of opening the newspaper at least once a year to find an article that basically reduces college education to a question of economics.



Given the intellectual paucity of the American high school experience, all Americans should be going to college to finally learn something, regardless of whether that newfound knowledge increases their salaries.



Prof. Harley Shaken, a labor economist at the University of California at Berkeley, argues in the article that the "obsession with education" overshadows attempts to equalize incomes by other means, and he is undoubtedly right.



If Americans were to stop thinking of education as a means to an end, maybe it wouldn't be constantly cheapened in this way.



Yes, please raise the minimum wage, enact something like the Equal Rights Amendment and strengthen unions. At the same time, strengthen education by reminding all Americans that a sound education is an end in itself.



Jessamyn Blau


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