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Letter: Editorial made some inaccurate assumptions on educating students for workforce

In the editorial “School, community officials steer lessons for success,” there are a few errors in reasoning that were communicated when sharing the new information about how schools are restructuring their education system for the everyday student. 

For instance, the error of overgeneralizing was caught when it was stated that the students who were dropouts after high school either joined the military or joined the unskilled work force. These are not the only options available to those who do not attend college. There have been successful entrepreneurs who did not get a college degree. 

For example, Bill Gates, one of the most successful and richest men in the world, was a college dropout. There is also the possibility of a person pursuing a successful athletic career or entertainment career without obtaining a college degree. 

Another error of thinking that was discovered in this article was the post-hoc fallacy error, which means that Situation B occurs as a direct result of Situation A. It was stated that “having a better-prepared educated class of young people also reduces crime and the need for expensive incarceration.” This implies that educating people will reduce criminal activity, which may not necessarily be true. Not all people who commit crimes are uneducated. 

For example, Andrew Fastow was an Enron CFO who was committed to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy and was sentenced to six years in prison. He also held a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, so his extensive education did not hold him back from engaging in criminal activity.  

Another error that was expressed was the “either/or outlook” error. In the article, it was directly quoted “The students who slip through the workforce cracks fall in a few main groups: Those who either drop out or who graduate but with few skills learned and no set goals beyond high school.” 

This is considered an error in reasoning because it is possible that the person is not in the workforce because they can be considered in both or neither of these groups. There could be a dropout who did not join the workforce and does have skills but chooses not to apply them in the workforce because they want to go down a different path. There could also be a person that does not fall under either of these two categories. 

For instance, a woman or man that does have a degree with skills and goals but decides to stay out of the workforce in order to stay home and raise their small children. 

It is important to stray away from committing these types of errors because it can influence the way a reader is interpreting what is being communicated. Sticking with facts and evidence to back up any opinions is a good route to take when reporting any kind of information in a news source.

This was a great article to read, but some of these reasoning errors can be corrected to make the article seem more accurate.

Heidi Adams


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