Options for New Bedford school children are limited and we've done it to ourselves by buying into the lame brain notion that every child should go to college.
All children deserve an opportunity for a good education but not all children are alike and therefore their educational needs are different as well. As a nation we bought into this silly notion that our children cannot be successful unless they obtain a college degree and spend their lives pushing pencils somewhere in a steel and glass tower.

We've lost sight of the fact that not all kids want to go to college and some should not go. As a result of this "college at all cost" mentally, we've left many kids behind. We've created a wealthy and powerful, left leaning academia that has had a negative impact on many a young mind. We've also forced our kids to saddle themselves with debt that will take decades to repay, if at all.
By the time kids hit middle school age many have chosen the path to the university while others begin to lose their way. They've have no interest in what is being offered to them. Many would prefer to learn a trade and work with their hands, but in a system designed to push kids through to college they simply lack the opportunity.
The vocational schools in the New Bedford area are among the finest anywhere but slots are at a premium. Public schools simply do not offer vocational training. As a result many kids reach a dead end and get lost in the system.
The New Bedford School Committee is in the process of figuring out a way forward for the middle schools in an effort to keep more students engaged. Might I suggest that the Committee strongly consider including vocational training for students who are not interested in pursuing a traditional four year college career. This could be done by forging a relationship with New Bedford Voc Tech or by retooling the middle schools to be able to provide vocational training.

The Commonwealth should recognize the need and fund construction of additional vocational school classrooms in Massachusetts.
We need to make sure Massachusetts students have all possible options to chose from when plotting their future.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.


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