When it was time for my perfectly average kid, Jonah, to apply to college, I wasn’t worried. Balancing his interest in large schools, his grades/SAT scores, and our bank account, I knew exactly what kind of college that he should apply to.
Of course, it wasn’t obvious how much we were going to pay for college, because the price of college is totally mysterious. Because of that uncertainty, we applied to 12 colleges hoping that one would be affordable. Even with that uncertainty, I had no trouble compiling a list flagship state colleges, we visited many of them, and then he applied. After acceptances arrived, we balanced price tags with ranking numbers and made a final decision.
Because my life is always fodder for my writing, I wrote about that process extensively on my blog and in more professional spaces. All those links in the above paragraphs go to my work. I even blogged about taking 5 college tours, in 5 states, in 5 days.
Sidenote: I thought about writing a travel/memoir, where I visited 100 colleges and went on all the tours. Maybe I would have attended some frat parties or something, too. I don’t know. It didn’t happen.
So, my second son is going to finish high school in three months. I basically have no clue what he’ll be doing then.
He’s got high functioning autism, so he would struggle with a typical liberal arts curriculum at a four-year college. He’s not reading and writing on grade level. And he has some quirks, so he might not blend into a tech program at the community college either. He might. He might not. I have no idea.
But assessing my son’s abilities is the easiest part of this job. The biggest problem is that I don’t even know what our options are.
High school counselors — for some reason, they’re not called guidance counselors anymore— do not provide information about alternatives to four year colleges. As I wrote last year, counselors are few in number; some states have 1 for every 600 students. They are trained to help kids with their social-emotional needs, not college and career planning. There are no incentives for them to provide information to kids about alternatives for four year programs, because their schools rankings are based on graduates’ attendance at 4-year colleges.
So that means that kids who are not going to attend a four-year college are out of luck. There’s no info. Parents have to figure it out on their own.
A friend’s son is on all honors classes, super smart kid, but he didn’t want to go to college. He loves cars, you see. His bedroom is covered with posters of Maseratis and Lamberginis. He wanted to be a car mechanic for those fancy cars.
When his high school couldn’t tell him what to do, his parents started googling information and learned that the local community college only trained kids to fix Toyotas and that a trade school about an hour away is the best place for him. Once he finishes his training, he’ll have a great high-paying job in a field that he loves. Too bad that his high school couldn’t guide him to the right place.
In another article, I wrote about a girl, who attended a four-year college, finished the degree, and racked up a whole lotta debt. But once she was done, she realized that she wasn’t qualified for anything and that she wanted a very practical career. So, she enrolled in a local for-profit trade school. She wished she went there first, instead of wasting four years and tons of money at college.
Our fancy-pants high school sends about 86% of its graduates to a four-year college. While they don’t provide stats about how many of those kids dropout in their first semester, I suspect that those numbers are high. After all, the college dropout rate is huge, and also impacts kids from middle and upper income families.
If 14 percent of our high school’s graduates do not attend a four-year college and probably a very large number are not able to graduate from those colleges, then why don’t we have more information on alternatives? The school has a team of folks to help the kids who are going to a four year college, but I haven’t even gotten a webpage or a flyer of places that we should check out.
I’m almost finished with an article (it’s about mental health and schools). When I make the last edits next week, I won’t accept any writing gigs. Finding a place for Ian is going to be my full time job for two months. I’ll fill you in on the process as I go along.
28 thoughts on “Fear and Loathing On the Non-College Trail”
Doing some work related research on curriculum and came across this program for ASD students from Marshall University:
I know it’s an N of one and maybe too far way from you all for the comfort zone, but thought I’d share.
Bryan Caplan (the George Mason economist) has a book entitled The Case Against Education that I am writing about for a private forum I’m on. Anyway, the whole point of the book is that we spend too much on school and college, education is mostly signaling and trying to demonstrate that you are smarter, we should do more vocational education, blah blah blah.
Anyway, I got to the college alternatives chapter and it is (I kid you not) 13 whole pages long, with Caplan pushing child labor and vocational training and somehow not finding the space in a nearly 400 page book to give any details on how to feasibly do either or to talk about the vocational training that is available now.
(Neither book is perfect, but I think that that book and Paul Tough’s The Years That Matter Most have really interesting synergy.)
I liked Paul Tough’s book a lot, though I believe he takes probably messy real lives and then smooths them into stories that illustrates a point. I have very vivid memories of the different individuals he follows, from Uri Triesman (having taught himself modern algebra as teen and then sitting in a gardening truck outside a Berkely math classroom to leading the efforts to teach calculus to students at UT Austin) to the young girl and her mother sitting in a counselors office and someone, somehow, pointing her to an education that led to Princeton (and, away from her family).
But, Caplan’s book (which I haven’t read) fits exactly what I know of Caplan — the, in my view, worst kind of theoretical economist who theorizes about how things could work without practical ways to get there (reminds me of a person I heard discussing the Texas grid failure with the proposal that the problem with unregulated power markets is that you can bid more for power, but there’s no plan to bid to turn off your power). Caplan couldn’t find alternatives to four year colleges, and the grid proponent couldn’t answer the question — how much would a person in Texas accept in order to turn off their power in 10 degree heat, and who are they likely to be?
bj said, “I liked Paul Tough’s book a lot, though I believe he takes probably messy real lives and then smooths them into stories that illustrates a point.”
I’d actually love to do a sort of book club on the two books, because I think that each book complements the deficiencies of the other.
I need to have a look again at the Tough book, but one thing that makes it hard to generalize his optimistic UT stuff is that UT Austin students (even if they come from lower quality high schools and struggle at UT Austin) are a very rarified bunch nowadays in terms of being at the top of their class. UT Austin was probably a bit less selective at the time Tough wrote his book, but currently, 75% of the freshman class are students auto-admitted because they are in the top 6% of their graduating class, so it’s a group that is especially likely to succeed, given some hand-holding.
“But, Caplan’s book (which I haven’t read) fits exactly what I know of Caplan — the, in my view, worst kind of theoretical economist who theorizes about how things could work without practical ways to get there.”
I have a lot of thoughts on that book:
–He makes a very good case that rather than primarily providing value added in terms of skills and knowledge, a lot of the economic value of a college degree is that college is a sorting machine that allows employers to sort through applicants more quickly. I think it’s a fair point that (if we’re just sorting), it is kind of lousy to make people pay $100k to be sorted.
–Also, as Caplan points out, if college is primarily a sorting machine, than it’s pointless to federally fund college for everybody in the hope that doing so will increase income levels. For the average person, college mostly helps allocate opportunities rather than increasing opportunities. (This depends a lot on major, of course.)
–I think that a lot of our discussions of college miss the fact that we primarily have a job availability problem for young people, not an education problem. In a tighter job market, employers would be a lot less fussy about credentials. But we talk about education because it’s easier.
–I think Caplan’s book is a very valuable conversation starter, but it’s kind of sloppy.
–Caplan literally puts high school academic education in the same bucket as college, which I find very questionable. They’re functionally quite distinct, since (most obviously) high schoolers are nearly all minors and college students are nearly all legal adults.
–I think that he doesn’t get the fact that the contemporary US doesn’t have a job for all of the young adults currently in college, and it certainly doesn’t have jobs for all of the less academic high schoolers if they were to leave school at 14 or 15. Part of the function of high school and college is a sort of aging vat to get kids to the point where employers are willing to bother with them.
–He also doesn’t get the fact that K-12 school is a bundled product, and education is only one of the items in the bundle. Pandemic school closures and the attempt to reduce school to just education have made this painfully obvious. You get not just education at school but also childcare, socialization, hot meals, athletics, extracurriculars and community life. Spotted Toad (a former NYC Teach For America guy and author of a really charming memoir about teaching in the Bronx) has a long post here talking about it:
“Education is now the one surviving binding principle of the society as a whole, the one black box everyone will agree to, and so while you can press for less subsidization of education by government, and for privatization of costs, as Caplan does, there’s really nothing people can substitute for it. This is partially about signaling, sure, but it’s also because outside of schools and a few religious enclaves our society is but a darkling plain beset by winds.”
Some more thoughts on Caplan, Tough, and vocational education:
–Tough’s stuff on the welder was a really helpful piece of work.
–It’s worth remembering that a lot of vocational education is happening in colleges–specifically community college.
–I fear that it’s really hard for high school vocational programs to keep up with trends in employment. It’s easy to wind up with a white elephant program, training kids for jobs that don’t exist anymore.
–You need very specific classroom set-ups and supplies for vocational education, and it could be a lot more expensive and fiddly to run than vanilla college prep. (Our private school shop teacher keeps a very tight cap on enrollment in advanced shop, because of the limited amount of equipment and the need for close supervision when using dangerous equipment.)
–Vocational education has a very long history in American high schools. It would have been helpful if Caplan had addressed that history and how and why vocational education fizzled.
–I think that Caplan underplays the degree to which some vocational programs have requirements that require a fair amount of academic knowledge–take for example electrical work or nursing.
–My sister and her German in-laws are encouraging Nephew to apply for some German car company apprenticeships, just in case his college program doesn’t work out. There are some really good openings coming up.
–It would have been helpful if Caplan could have invested a page or two describing how the German apprenticeship system works. I gather (from talking to my sister and googling a bit) that it involves both classroom instruction and work at a particular company.
–Given the small stipends that German apprentices get for 2-3 years, I’m wondering whether the program would even be legal in the US. I fear that in the US, a German-style apprenticeship program would run afoul of minimum wage laws and our regulations on unpaid internships. (German apprentices typically get only a small stipend, as opposed to actual living expenses, with the expectation being that they will be living with family.)
We have a state technical college nearby. They have (among many other options) a program for lineworkers.
I found out about it when reading a recent news story about students in the program who were called out to do electrical repair work during and after the Texas storm. It must have been a heck of a time for them, but a lot of them got paid $3k for a fairly short stretch of work and one guy (who was almost done with his 2-year program) got $5k.
This is a really hard job, but the tuition for their program is a smidge under $6k a year, so (purely financially speaking) there’s a really solid return on investment.
Oh, and I forgot to mention–the technical college has a money-back guarantee for people who graduate from the program and don’t have work within 6 months.
There’s presumably some fine print, but that shows a lot of confidence in their educational product.
I would want to see the data on that fine print refund (not just the fine print, but how many people get their money back, or try). My first inclination would be to consider it to be the equivalent of tire warranties.
Here is a website that may be helpful:
You are certainly the person who would know how to ask questions that would illuminate exactly what their programs look like and provide to students. Some of them sound kind of thin.
You might be especially interested in the program at Rochester Institute of Technology. I think it has been around for a while.
I’ve mentioned the info I’ve heard about Bellevue College’s “Navigator” program in WA state (it’s rebranded to drop the “community college” from it’s name, and offers 4 year degrees, but is part of the community college system in the puget sound area). I also know another child who is on the spectrum who attended Digipen Institute of Technology. Both the families I know of are prioritizing nearby locations and neither student requires hands on support (though they may need planning/executive/behavioral supports). And, neither family was looking for the traditional american college experience (which I would define as living and socializing in an environment of college students, which could mean parties or long discussions about philosophy in the common rooms and opportunities to meet life partners).
I am eager to hear more about what you find.
I saw a graphic recently in which a student wrote “they tell you go to college and you’ll be set for a job, but, when you apply for a job, they ask you about a masters” I do detest the signalling aspect of college degrees, especially when I think they signal poorly for many jobs.
I once read a story of a cheating scandal in which a single mom/member of the armed forces hired a “cheater company” to write her PhD thesis proposal for her. Her committee than rejected the proposal (not for cheating, but because it didn’t meet standards) and she returned to the cheater company because they hadn’t done the job and reported them to the better business bureau.
So crazy, but, fundamentally because that PhD (yes, a PhD) was being used as some form of credentialing, for a raise or a promotion (that the person almost certainly might have been appropriate for without that PhD and probably wasn’t held by PhDs now).
I know two families with sons on the autism spectrum who chose to live at home while attending college in computer fields. In both cases, I believe they took fewer courses than the norm, so it took longer to get the degree. The parents were fairly involved in helping their sons navigate college expectations, although I think the colleges’ disability services offices were quite helpful in finding accommodations.
If you want to research trade schools, this may be a good place to start: https://www.accsc.org/Directory/index.aspx.
I agree that there should be much more help available for students on choosing career paths.
Cranberry said, “In both cases, I believe they took fewer courses than the norm, so it took longer to get the degree.”
The psychologist relative I do some work for recommends lower course loads for a lot of her disabled patients (these are people with brain injuries, but there are a lot of similarities). She suggested the same thing for our college freshman. She’s taken one course less than a full load. On the one hand, I think she probably could do the full load, but on the other hand, she got straight As fall term and has been a lot happier this term after dropping the extra course. We’re hoping/planning for her to take the math course in the summer.
And come to think of it, taking courses year round might make more sense for Ian and other similar kids, rather than stopping and starting repeatedly–although a summer job could be a very positive experience.
There are multiple reasons high schools aren’t going to provide information on non college careers. First, it’s not measured, as you mentioned. Next, lots of trade schools are for profit and if it got out that the high school was pointing kids to for profit schools, heads would roll. Last, the schools are likely afraid that they would end up pointing minority students towards trade schools more than white students, and again, that would be a problem.
This took seconds to find: https://www.careertechnj.org/our-schools/
So what exactly, do you want the schools to provide as information?
OT for the fans of fanfiction: Apparently there’s drama now at AO3?
(Ok, there’s probably been drama all along, but this particular one is getting at least a little notice outside the community.)
I was chatting about this thread with a NY guy whose brother is a NY school counselor. He talked to his brother about the thread. Here are some thoughts from those conversations:
–My contact gathers that “counselors at many schools are generally overwhelmed by their college applications so it leaves little time to focus on the non-broken, but non-college bound.”
–He also mentioned the thing other people have talked about, that schools are judged by their 4-year college admit rate, so other kinds of placement may be seen as wasted effort
–“there are parents who expect college at all costs”
–the NY school counselor suggests a community college STEM program, or seeing if the local community college has special programs for special needs students. (I’m sure you’re on this already, but I wanted to mention that that route has a seal of approval.)
I am pretty sure that Ian would be able to manage a community college STEM program with some support. The problem with community college is that it’s not really set up to build relationships the way residential 4-year college is, so it may be socially kind of a dead end in that respect. Transportation may be a hassle for you. There’s also the question of job placement afterward, which would be a question to ask them. Maybe community college plus very part-time grocery store job and/or some other kind of community activity?
I’m of two minds when it comes to this topic. My brother didn’t go to college, eventually ended up in a training program of some sort offered by Microsoft, and has had a stellar career working for Boeing, Microsoft, and a variety of tech companies. His ex-wife didn’t go to college, and when they divorced (her choice, and she received alimony and child support for years, to be clear) found that she would get jobs, want to move up, and not be able to because of the lack of a BA. Now she’s in school. My mother back in the day was able to move pretty far in office type environments without a BA–no longer. It’s not great to get to midlife and realize you have to go back, when you could have gone to a cheap regional, commuted from home, done a few rite-of-passage things along the way and gotten the degree. College absolutely does not need to cost 100,000! I am honestly stunned that more parents do not tell their kids no. We did. But speaking of college counselors–ours looked like Iike I sprouted horns when I mentioned cost in our pre-college application meeting.
Often people who speak out against “college for everyone” are absolutely, most definitely sending their kids to college. They are thinking of other kids. It’s not like we are sending exorbitant number of kids to college. We are currently sending fewer kids to colleges than many other Western nations–when we used to be #1. I agree we are underserving those who don’t go–and nobody should go if they don’t want to, obviously! But–and I know I’ve said this before–for the sorts of kids the anti-college for everyone thinkers are thinking about–poorer kids with middling grades and SATs who come from families where nobody has graduated–college is actually a lifesaver. Literally. Yes, it might be the high school they should have had and never got–but don’t tell me that we should reform the high schools to fix that. It’s not going to happen, and those kids should not have to wait for us to solve society’s ills. The parents cry and bless you at graduations because they know their children will not only make a million or so more over a lifetime, they will also live longer, and they will not have to break their bodies in doing so. They are less likely to be addicted. Their own kids will benefit, too. They are more likely to use middle class parenting practices, less likely to go to jail, and are able to help not only themselves but also their parents and other community members, by talking to doctors in the hospital and reading legal documents and so on. A kid from a college educated family going to college does not benefit that family much–but a kid from a family without college graduates benefits not only himself by many others. And the families know it. If you work for a school like that, you know what it’s like.
lisag2 said, “It’s not great to get to midlife and realize you have to go back, when you could have gone to a cheap regional, commuted from home, done a few rite-of-passage things along the way and gotten the degree.”
But it’s not necessarily the case that those particular individuals would have all successfully gotten a BA in 4 years starting as 18-year-olds.
“Often people who speak out against “college for everyone” are absolutely, most definitely sending their kids to college.”
That is very, very true. Or else not realizing that community college is where a lot of vocational training is happening.
On the other hand, 4-year-college for everybody (if taken literally) is a really, really dumb idea.
“It’s not like we are sending exorbitant number of kids to college.”
We kind of are, though, in terms of the percentage going to college.
The US peaked out at nearly 70% of high school graduates going directly from high school to college. It was around 45.1% in 1960, 51.7% in 1970 and 49.3% in 1980. More recently it’s risen to high 60s and is just bumping along there, with a decrease from 2016 (69.8%) to 2017 (66.7%). The fact that increases in enrollment have stalled out suggests that a) we have reached the point of diminishing returns and b) the US economy is having a hard time absorbing all of the freshly-minted BAs.
“But–and I know I’ve said this before–for the sorts of kids the anti-college for everyone thinkers are thinking about–poorer kids with middling grades and SATs who come from families where nobody has graduated–college is actually a lifesaver.”
Isn’t that exactly the demographics of the kids who (even if they manage to graduate with a BA) wind up with high debt and very middling jobs?
“They are less likely to be addicted. Their own kids will benefit, too. They are more likely to use middle class parenting practices, less likely to go to jail, and are able to help not only themselves but also their parents and other community members, by talking to doctors in the hospital and reading legal documents and so on.”
It’s going to be really interesting to see the impact on COVID school shutdowns on all of this.
My guess is that we’re about to see an uptick in college failure among kids whose last 1.25+ years of high school were largely nonexistent.
Often people who speak out against “college for everyone” are absolutely, most definitely sending their kids to college. They are thinking of other kids.
This, this, this, this, a thousand times this! Over Here, the most reliable source of “too many people going to university” editorials is the Frankfurter Allgemeine, the newspaper of prosperous conservatism. My reaction is always, “Yeah, start with the writer’s kids not going to a university” because it is always, always meant to be other people’s kids. Germany’s bad enough that way, no need to make it worse.
Also, real quick–those kids do learn lots in college. The idea that there is no added value, and that colleges merely sort–that might be true of elite students, at elite schools, but it is not true of middling students at middling schools. I think that a lot of these critics are upset colleges aren’t doing more sorting, like they used to–too many are being let through the gates and their kids have to compete with too many others, who should be sorted into vocational, and could be, if we simply closed all the regionals and only had the flagships and privates.
lisag2 said, “Also, real quick–those kids do learn lots in college. The idea that there is no added value, and that colleges merely sort–that might be true of elite students, at elite schools, but it is not true of middling students at middling schools.”
I think that’s a fair point about the difference between elite colleges and non-elite colleges.
My husband got his first job at a fancy pants college, and those kids arrived really polished.
On the other hand, the graduation rate at non-elite colleges is often very low.
As Caplan correctly points out, there’s a big difference between what makes sense for self-interested individuals (yeah, you might as well go to college in order to get ahead of other applicants) and what makes sense for the US taxpayer to fund en masse. It is not in the interests of the US taxpayer to fuel a credential treadmill, where every single clerical worker is expected to have a BA.
It also doesn’t make sense for the government to force all K-12 teachers to get MAs and to incentivize teachers and administrators to get master’s degrees and doctoral degrees for pay bumps…when that has virtually nothing to do with improving education. It’s an enormous waste, in terms of taxpayer dollars and teacher’s time and money.
“In How and Why Do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement? (NBER Working Paper No. 12828), co-authors Charles Clotfelter, Helen Ladd, and Jacob Vigdor study the effect of teacher credentialing on student achievement using data on 75 percent of all children in North Carolina in grades 3, 4, and 5 from 1994 to 2003. Their results show that having a graduate degree has little effect on student achievement. Teachers who entered teaching with a master’s degree, or who earned it within five years of beginning to teach, were as effective as teachers without a master’s degree.”
“As in previous studies, the authors find here that teachers with more experience are better teachers.”
AmyP said ” Their results show that having a graduate degree has little effect on student achievement. Teachers who entered teaching with a master’s degree, or who earned it within five years of beginning to teach, were as effective as teachers without a master’s degree.”
I do think that this is very true. Based on my experience of having a ‘quirky’ kid which some learning challenges. The teachers just out of training college with their shiny new diplomas were pretty useless. It was the experienced teachers – 20 years+ who had seen it all, and had a deep toolkit of techniques to call on, who were the ones who were effective teachers.
I’ve also seen this, really strongly, in Early Childhood Education.
Here in NZ we have a unique form of ECE – Playcentre. It’s basically a part-time child-led learning ECE run by parents co-operatively, with no (or very few) paid staff. Parents volunteer to staff sessions under a group-supervision model, and (historically) participated in seminars on things like pre-school learning styles & behaviour management techniques – as well as the standard child-safety stuff. Sessions are 2.5 hours per day – and number of sessions pretty much range up with the child (so 0-1 = 1 session per week – up to 5-6 year olds with 5 sessions per week).
As a biased parent (I was a Playcentre kid, and took my kid there as well), it’s a brilliant model. Not only is it a fabulous start for the kids, it’s the only ECE model which educates parents as well.
Playcentres routinely ace all of the Ministry of Education evaluation criteria.
However, ECE unions hate it. And have been conducting a relentless campaign to persuade the government to ‘professionalize’ ECE in NZ.
The latest change is likely to kill the Playcentre model as formal ECE (and remove the government funding). Instead of having the parent education as a series of seminars, conducted over evenings/weekends, with a small amount of written work to demonstrate understanding; the government have moved to basically require the parent educators to complete an undergraduate degree in ECE (just as if they were in a ‘professional’ ECE). Of course, parents are not able – or willing – to invest in a 3-year degree on a part-time/voluntary basis. Most have their own careers that they’ll return to once their kids graduate.
Based on all of the formal reviews, there is zero difference in outcome between Playcentre run with the parent volunteers and ECE with qualifed staff (of course, there are variances, but when corrected for socio-economic factors, the differences aren’t significant).
So, parent volunteers, with (admittedly high levels of engagement – because it’s your own kid) – after about 40 hours education (spread over a year), have the same practical knowledge base as professional ECE teachers, after a 3-year undergraduate degree.
That says to me, that the degree is full of a whole lot of padding – and is mostly a tick-box exercise.
One more thing:
The sorting process works differently at elite versus non-elite colleges.
At an elite college, they sort at the front end, cherry-picking a small number of highly qualified applicants and rejecting the rest. Almost everybody will graduate.
At a non-elite college, the front-end sorting may be minimal, but there’s a lot of sorting via attrition.
I think I’m a little older than many commenters here–or my children are a little older. At this point, I’d say that the kids who knew what they wanted to do as adults, who found a program that supported that calling, seem to be doing well. Some kids tried college, but dropped out.
Doing well, after dropping out of college:
A nail technician. A car mechanic (luxury brand.) An aircraft mechanic.
All their parents possessed college degrees. All three of these kids happened to have learning challenges while in school, i.e. were either in special ed, had a learning plan, or had to attend a specialized boarding school. They are living independently, supporting themselves, and last I knew, all had potential life partners.
The artistically gifted are doing particularly well. Despite the constant criticism of art degrees found in articles on education, the kids who attended art school/craft school are doing well. This includes:
A ceramicist. A fashion seamstress (contracting in the fashion industry.) A car designer (there was one or two programs in the country that supported his skills.) Several graphic artists (all, as far as I know, producing art for internet use, whether on their own or for large companies.)
Other programs? The kids who attended service academies are doing well. They have received a good education and have jobs (of course!) The service academies are colleges, but they’re also vocational programs with a required period of service upon graduation. The kid who became a Merchant Mariner is doing very well. He is being paid well for his age. At the end of his required time, he could either continue in his profession or take training to become an electrician or plumber.
It’s all anecdote. Certainly, to choose not to attend college is an exception. However, I will say that I know more college graduates who are trying to figure out what to do than trade school/vocational program graduates. Some of those kids will choose to attend graduate or professional school. Right now, of course, the thought of taking on more student loan debt is intimidating.
Wow, that’s very encouraging.
“However, I will say that I know more college graduates who are trying to figure out what to do than trade school/vocational program graduates.”
I suppose the trade school/vocational program kids had more of an idea what they wanted to do and what it would look like?
My college kid is in a what-is-she-going-to-do-with-this program, and it does give me pause, but I genuinely can’t think of a better course of study for her.
Trade/vocational programs ARE great for many kids. I wish kids learned about them in high school and didn’t have to stumble upon them later.
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