Enrichment is the true purpose of a college education
George Leef's Sept. 25 Opinion piece, "The US doesn't need more college grads," says the US already "puts too many unmotivated students into college, where they learn little." This seems too narrowly focused to be valid. True, not all college students are "eager" to learn in order to enhance career skills. But many still-developing young people encounter in college a world of higher learning and levels of achievement that they never knew existed – a world that can educate in ways that enrich them for a lifetime and that go beyond simply aiding them in mastering career skills (desirable as that may be).
Hasn't this enrichment been the purpose of our liberal arts college system – to produce a more aware and mature citizenry able to make a greater contribution to society?
Formal education that ends with high school too often leads to low-paying, dead-end jobs and precipitous, difficult marriage and parenting experiences. And even if it's true that many college graduates currently hold such jobs, they at least have far greater opportunity to move beyond that level.
In Mr. Leef's piece, a student's statement that "People would be amazed at how easy it is to graduate without learning anything" probably indicates that the student has become more cognizant of what he or she has absorbed in ensuing years.
I write in response to the Sept. 26 article "Among the 'Disciple Generation,' fervor and diversity," which reviews Lauren Sandler's book, "Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement." As a product of the evangelical youth movement and a senior at Smith College, I experience both the conservative-religious and the liberal- secular cultures in the US. Both misunderstand each other.
One of the most salient misunderstandings the secular segment of US society has about this youth movement is that it is dangerously political. It is not. Many – if not most – of the youth are apolitical and do not vote, even though they say they are against abortion and gay marriage. I have attended many evangelical youth gatherings, and the central concern is rarely political. The leaders of these gatherings are sincerely concerned with strengthening the faith of the youth and helping teens deal with daily struggles.
Ask any teen involved in the evangelical youth movement, and she or he would be extremely surprised to be considered a political threat to the left. These teens are trained to be "spiritual warriors," not political warriors. The focus of these gatherings is on the spiritual and not the political, and the No. 1 goal is to love God and love othrs.
Regarding the Oct. 3 article, "Crackdown on immigrants empties a town and hardens views": Americans are going to have to look the immigration issue in the eye and determine where they stand in terms of "the economics of immigration." Congress's decision to erect the "American Berlin wall" along our border will cost billions and will not solve the problem. Illegals will continue to flood in, and the cost of confronting this will rise even higher. Joe Average American will have to take a hard look at the president's plan, decide what to do about finding a middle ground somewhere, and face the reality that people will do anything to live and work in America – just as their grandparents and great-grandparents did.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.