Representative Virginia Foxx (R-TN) published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that trade school is just as valuable as higher education.
Foxx, a Republican, recently made the case that the way we discuss education in America is “classist” in a column for the Wall Street Journal. By looking down upon those who attended trade schools and praising though with advanced degrees, we are suggesting that one is more valuable than the other.
If you went to school to learn a trade, you must be lesser, because someone long ago decided that college should be called “higher” education. Considering the state of colleges and universities today, the word “higher” may be the most misleading of them all.
The way we speak about education is inherently classist. When a student of lesser means attends a traditional four-year school, we say she “overcame her circumstances.” When a student from a wealthy background chooses a trade school we say he didn’t “live up to expectations.” We are all but telling people that the trade jobs this country needs are dirty, and that skills-based education is for people without means or, much worse, without potential.
Foxx, who also served as the president of Maryland Community College from 1987 to 1994, insists in the column that Americans should consider acting “inclusive” about the value we place on trade on trade schools, which often provide young people with an opportunity to learn a valuable skill at minimal cost.
This week, Breitbart News published a story about a sketch comedy video that made light of the differences between trade school and higher education.