When craft skills become obsolete

September 02, 2012

Your recent commentary on information technology is yet another slant on the increased need for education to work our way out of the current economic recession ("Tech to the rescue," Aug. 27).

I will go along with an increased need for IT personnel, even if IT seems to cover a multitude of job descriptions of varying skill levels. According to this your article, only 30 percent to 45 percent of high school graduates are ready to take college level math and science courses, yet that might be enough to supply all the graduates the country needs.

I have never disapproved of an educated elite, as long as the elite is plucked from an egalitarian society.

The commentary further notes that nearly 80 percent of the jobs lost in the recession were held by workers with a high school diploma or less. Surely, our first endeavor is to get these workers back to work using their available skills, which are the bedrock of our economy.

Increasingly, our industries are using more computerized systems, and the less skilled workers have fewer options. But we must not decry the need for traditional tradesmen, craftsmen and artisans. Let these bedrock workers get as much education as they can, but don't suggest their skills are no longer needed.

Donald T. Hart, Baltimore

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