U.S, April 15, 2019: I think it depends on how one defines education. My definition doesn’t follow the classic norm viewed by certain people, namely the educational elitists with many abbreviations behind their name. Many — and I say that without reservation — are educated idiots. Today’s environment on most colleges and campuses proves the previous statement. All U.S. citizens are educated, most through experiences of which they have no comprehension according to reports published in nwfdailynews.com
I was one of the fortunate individuals who acquired a college education, but I am no more intelligent than the friends who chose not to pursue higher education. My chosen economic path came with many negatives, but there were just as many positives.
My career provided me with world travel, wonderful associations, monetary compensations and many rewarding challenges. The negatives were long hours of work, periods of being away from home and a very limited amount of time with my only son.
Fortunately, my son had strong guidance and protection from his mother, Connie. I never had time for the many talents of my son, John, who was a gifted baseball player as a young Little Leaguer. I did coach his Little League team while living in Vermont. However, from our family travels, he grew up to be comfortable in all environments.
There are trade-offs for both life paths, and if I had the decision to make again, I’m not sure I would make the same one.
My friends who chose not to pursue a career that required heavy involvement in company functions had a wonderful life. They experienced the joys of seeing their children participate in all activities provided to young people. They also enjoyed living in a wonderful city. Gadsden is a gem when it comes to furnishing an environment conducive to a stable upbringing for children, surrounded by caring parents.
Education is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “the process of educating; teaching, and knowledge thus developed; formal schooling.” I disagree with that definition. Education is anything one does that expands the knowledge of the individual.
Virginia Foxx, a Republican representing North Carolina’s Fifth Congressional District, says the definition of education can be changed by how we preface the word. She stated in an article discussing vocational training, “Education has always been the key to opportunity in America, rightly called ‘the great equalizer.’”
But the sociologist Herbert Spencer once noted “how often misused words generate misleading thoughts.” By placing descriptions like “vocational” and “technical” in front of the word education, we generate misleading thoughts about the types of people who enroll in such programs.
Foxx continued, “Those who earn what people usually call technical and vocational degrees have long been viewed as inferior to those who graduate with a series of letters after their names. If you went to school to learn a trade, you must be lesser, because someone long ago decided that college should be called ‘higher’ education. Considering the state of colleges and universities today, the word ‘higher’ may be the most misleading.”
How many times have you watched in amazement as an electrician corrected an electrical fault in your home or business, or watched a carpenter professionally ply his trade? What about the welder whose compensation far outpaces most college-educated individuals?
The new vocational-trained person is the computer geek. Computers have become a way of life for most Americans and to have a computer specialist on call provides them special comfort. Computer problems are detrimental to our physical and mental health and the geek, usually a person without a college degree, has become an essential part of our lives.
Foxx concluded by saying we can’t keep speaking of people as if they were animals. Whether an individual acquires a skill credential, a bachelor’s degree a post-graduate degree or anything in between, it’s all education. Amen!
John F. Floyd is a Gadsden native who graduated from Gadsden High School in 1954. He formerly was director of United Kingdom manufacturing, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., vice president of manufacturing and international operations, General Tire & Rubber Co., and director of manufacturing, Chrysler Corp. He can be reached at email@example.com. The opinions reflected are his own.