Richer curriculums

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Regarding "In Defense of the Common Core: Pennsylvania High Schools Must Graduate Students Who Are Prepared for the World" (May 5 Forum): Joan Benso and David Patti maintain we need to have educational standards that will truly prepare "our graduates for the challenges they will face beyond high school -- whether that means moving on to vocational training, joining the workforce, enlisting in the military or pursuing a postsecondary degree." That doesn't sit well with me. To my mind it's not right to use the school taxes I pay to subsidize business, industry and the military by assuming the costs of training their future employees. After all the subsidies and tax breaks we give them, they could at least pay for doing their own training.

Our schools started out as a benefit for the students, preparing them to function as husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, workers, hobbyists, artists and -- most of all -- citizens. By now these schools are degenerating into trade schools, ignoring all the other aspects of education. That setup works in dictatorships, but it just isn't appropriate for a democracy.

Democracy can exist only as long as there is "an informed electorate." We get an informed electorate from curriculums that are rich in literature, art, music, history and other subjects that are being shucked off as "unnecessary," not from curriculums confined to math and science.

PAUL A. ALTER
Wilkinsburg


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