In response to the June 4 editorial, “College isn’t the only path after graduation,” I applaud Gov. Inslee and Superintendent Reykdal for their efforts to prepare high school graduates to meet the needs of Washington state’s economy.
However, I caution them against reinstating the system of tracking low-income students and students of color into vocational careers. The college-for-all path to graduation created access for many first-generation college attendees who had not previously thought their futures would include such a degree.
Far too often, students were tracked into higher- or lower-level courses according to societal prejudices. Counselors steered youth towards or away from particular career or educational paths based on factors like their skin color, country of origin, gender, or parents’ professions.
Unconscious bias plays a huge role in one’s expectations of others and oneself; therefore, basing career aspirations on students’ professed interests can be equally dangerous when an individual has not been exposed to, let alone prepared for, various possibilities.
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College may not be the option for everyone, but let’s not immediately remove that option for those from historically underrepresented groups.
Tanya Bowers, Pasco