Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Why I Dislike the Word "Potential"

There is a measure on our November ballot that will supposedly ensure extra money for vocational school, science classes, and the like. I say supposedly because you never know exactly where the money is going on with these things, but that is what this measure purports.

I am all for vocational school because I don't think that everyone is destined to go to college.

I can hear the collective gasp from the idealists at this very moment.

No, they will say, every child has the potential to be an A student and attend Harvard, if only given the right circumstances. Hubba-hubba and I have had the discussion many times that all children are capable of being A students. I disagree, while he feels everyone has the potential.

And therein lies the rub.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that all children are raised in a home where the parents care about their education and push them to acheive. Let's just say for the sake of same argument that all children are given a quality education. We all know that isn't possible in today's world, but let's just pretend.

I still don't think each child is suited for college and that vocational schools offer an excellent opportunity for those so inclined to master a skill and still be able to earn a solid living.

But even if a child has "potential" why would that immediately make them college material? Why could they not become a skilled laborer? When did there become a stigma attatched to blue collar work? Why do some people consider it a "waste?" If that person is happy in their choice of work, why shouldn't we be happy for them? If they are unhappy, different story.

Honest work is honest work, and it is far more difficult, if not impossible, to outsource a plumber. Having a plumber in another country is a bit inconvienient when your bathroom is flooding. Or when your car won't work.

I mean, have you seen what plumbers charge? Hubba-hubba has a friend who is a plumber, and let me tell you, he is making more money than quite a lot of people. Anyone who's ever had to call one during off hours can attest to that.

So, I am going to vote to support extra money for vocational schools. I believe they are a viable, oft-overlooked option for those who wish to pursue a different, albeit just as viable, path to success. Success is making those skills you have work for you, and that is true whether you crunch numbers for a living, or if you know how to wire a house for electricity. Both are equally important in my book.

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