· Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Visions…Clouded?
I’m rarely on my Twitter account (which is @EyeoftheWriter by the way), but when I am, I come across some interesting Tweets. I’m from Pittsburgh, and a journalism major, so I follow many Twitter accounts from the Pittsburgh area like officials and journalists. Scrolling down not but five minutes ago, I found this little gem from the Post-Gazette Education editor:
Before I continue, I want to say that this post is not targeted at the editor or at any specified individual. It is meant to be editorial in nature only.
When I read this post, at first I thought it was a fantastic vision. All schools envision their students graduating from some college or getting some level of workforce certification. It’s drilled in our heads from the time we’re in elementary school that we’re going to grow up and get “big people jobs.” I’m not disputing that. What I am disputing is why they are possibly going to push all their students into getting some kind of special paper saying they learned something.
Not every job requires some form of certification. Let’s take writing for example. There are writing majors and minors in many colleges, and several writers have a degree of some sort. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a degree to be a writer. Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, dropped out of law school to pursue a career in writing. William Faulkner, author of The Big Sleep, also dropped out of college…twice. Both writers lacked a college degree, and they wrote beautiful works that won awards and are read by high school and college students everywhere. Am I making my point?
If not, consider this. What about all of the entrepreneurs in today’s society? What about the people who work from their home without a degree as a start-up business? You may get technical and say, “Well, they need documentation for these things.” That point I’ll give you. However, they don’t always necessarily have “workforce certification.” Look at Steve Jobs! He was highly successful, highly intelligent, and highly creative. Guess what? He dropped out of college. You know of something called a Big Mac? Next time you order one at the only place these are sold, McDonald’s, you can thank high school drop-out Ray Kroc, the founder. The list of people who don’t have any certifications but made a successful living for themselves is endless (but for a small taste, you can click here).
It’s great that these schools want their students to succeed. I’m not arguing against that. I’m just arguing about the methodology and the psychology behind it. Options for students aren’t just black and white. They don’t have to go to college and get a degree. They don’t have to get any sort of workforce certification. I understand that many if not all jobs nowadays requires it, but there are plenty above examples to demonstrate my point that you don’t need certification to be successful.
I was going to close with advice to parents and teachers as well as students, but I’m not going to tell a parent or teacher how to do their job. That isn’t my place. However, I can give advice to all of you students out there. Don’t think you are limited to getting some form of certification. If you want to go to college or a trade school, that’s fantastic. If not, that is too. Look at your options, explore possible careers, and do what makes youhappy. That’s the most important thing, because it’s your life.