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Readers' forum: Degrees to nowhere?

Published: Wednesday, March 23 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

I certainly hope the thoughts expressed by State Sens. Howard Stephenson and Stephen Urquhart in a recent article on higher education are not representative of the thinking of the Utah Legislature as a whole. I would hate to think that our legislators who tout the Constitution at every turn (and recently in seeming seriousness publicly debated the differences between a republic and a democracy) are the same people who would steer our children away from degrees in history, English and political science.

Many "job skills" can be learned through apprenticeships, a "practical" minor or a certification course following attainment of a strong liberal arts degree. The disciplines that provide the knowledge and ability to articulate our core community and national values are not so easily acquired.

These fields of study are well suited for young people of vision, ambition and faith in the future, who want to tackle society's most pressing problems. These students, too, will find ways to make a living — perhaps supplemented by stints in state legislatures. They may have to be slightly more creative about how they approach the job market, but their academic study will have prepared them for that kind of creativity.

David M. Kirkham

Orem

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