Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

It's about time vocational education came back in style

Regarding the Oct. 12 article, "Suddenly, vocational training back in vogue": It's about time that the US gets real about career and technical education. Not all students have the ability or desire to pursue a traditional academic course of study. Other countries around the world have long recognized that fact and taken steps to provide alternatives.

The damage done to young people in America by this rigidity is incalculable. It's altogether possible that the appalling dropout rate, in large part, is the direct result of the failure of schools to provide students with courses in line with their needs and interests. This is particularly the case in inner cities and rural communities.

That's why the recent reauthorization through 2012 of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act is welcome news. But it needs to be accompanied by a change in America's attitude toward students who do not fit into the college-prep template. They deserve the same respect that their peers receive. Walt Gardner Former schoolteacher and lecturer at the UCLA Graduate School of Education Los Angeles

Discourage use of exotic mortgages

Regarding the Sept. 29 article, "Risky mortgages threaten a squeeze": This article highlights well "exotic" loan terms such as teaser interest rates, zero down payments, and zero monthly principal repayments offered with today's residential mortgages that tempt homeowners to over-borrow. But it fails to identify the culprit.

Our past and present congressmen are to blame for turning otherwise mildly tempting niche mortgage products into the near majority of loans. Congress needs to change our current legislation. Tax deductibility of home interest supports the goal of individual home ownership. But we need to eliminate counterproductive tax incentives that propel homeowners to buy ever-more-expensive homes, incurring higher debt and leading to increasing risks of foreclosure. Deductibility of interest expense for new mortgages should be limited to those that have fixed interest rates for at least a reasonable number of years. …

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