Letters to the Editor
Readers write about the need for more graduate degrees in the United States, another way to share music on the Internet, and why Obama is not to blame for the state of the stock market.
US needs more graduates with master's and doctoral degrees
In regard to the March 5 editorial, "Obama's call for more higher ed": In this editorial, the Monitor rightly notes that President Obama's recent call for investing in higher education focuses on its centrality to our economic future.
We at the Council of Graduate Studies applaud the president's goal of having the world's highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one-sixth of the fastest growing occupations for 2006-16 require a master's or doctoral degree.
While the number of people pursuing graduate degrees has been increasing over the past two decades, too few Americans obtain degrees in critical fields, including science and engineering. This deficit is magnified when we recognize that the fastest growing component of the US population – minorities – earn graduate degrees at half the rate of the majority.
The future scientists, experts in a wide range of fields, and leaders of our country will need graduate-level education. We urge the president and Congress to think expansively about higher education and to create a national talent development policy. Graduate education must become a reality for a growing, rather than a shrinking, number of Americans.
Debra W. Stewart
Council of Graduate Schools
Alternative method of file sharing
Regarding the Feb. 25 article, "Can a 'Day of Sharing' save the music industry?": While Richard Gibbs's proposal might underline the absurdity of how easy it is to illegally download music online, I seriously doubt the effectiveness of such a "Day of Sharing."
Professional musicians like me have acutely felt the negative effects of file sharing, which, according to the Recording Industry Association of America's website, accounts for a staggering $12.5 billion in revenue losses and 71,060 lost jobs every year. However, I personally feel that Mr. Gibbs's idea is a self-promotional slap in the face aimed at the music industry.
A better approach would be the introduction of a form of "fair trade certification" by music companies. Like other similar products on the market, such a campaign, with "certified" websites offering legal downloads, could help raise the awareness of this problem in a positive way.
Although there will always be freeloaders, many people simply don't realize the damage they are causing by downloading music free of charge. Such a certification would at least serve as a guide, helping people understand what they are supporting through the legal purchase of music by their favorite artists.
Obama not to blame for Dow
In regard to the March 10 editorial cartoon, "The minus touch": Brian Barling's cartoon commentary today is based upon the context-free fact that the Dow average has fallen 3000 points since Barack Obama was elected just over four months ago.
It is troubling to me that the additional 4500-point drop over the 13-month period prior to the election is overlooked. That's a total of 7500, well over half the Dow's value, since October 2007.
President Obama had no "touch" in making all this happen. The causes are not his doing. He has simply climbed aboard a bus already careening downhill. Finding the levers to slow the descent and have the markets rationally revalued is now the task at hand.
David K. McClurkin
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