Opinion: Vocational schools need high admissions standards

Apr 6, 2021

To the editor:

The current admission practice of Greater New Bedford’s vocational school is based on grades, attendance, disciplinary records and recommendation from guidance counselors.

A member of the New Bedford school committee and representatives for the Community Action Network and United Interfaith Action said these current practices are illegal and discriminatory.

Beth Kontos, President of American Federation of Teachers MA states that making a high grade requirement and good attendance records excludes many students who would
perform far better in vocational programs than in traditional school settings. Really!

Good attendance and good grades are less important in trade schools than in regular high schools?

My plumber, electrician, HVAC worker or mechanic needs competencies and ability in math, science, reading and writing.

When these tradespeople are building your house they incorporate different studies to calculate costs, read building codes, and use precision in measuring blueprints.

Getting tradespeople is expensive and the skill they possess will determine the quality of service in wiring your home, repairing your car, doing your plumbing and building your house.

Learning these trades requires that the student is disciplined, has good attendance and some ability to learn and become competent.

These schools do not have the time nor should they be spending more time on behavioral problems than on teaching these trades.

Please keep admissions standards at these schools intact so the students and society have the best chance of getting the job done.

Theresa Brum

New Bedford