The U.S. and German educational systems are very different and difficult to compare. Oversimplifying and/or omitting important information, as Charles Lane did in his May 22 op-ed column, “The issue with free college,” is not helpful.
He stated that Germany is “putting [most students] on course to less-exalted training.” The well trained and highly regarded German workforce might beg to differ. Vocational apprenticeships and a professional education of three to four years with an average monthly pay of 900 euros represent a very attractive option for students who don’t want to become doctors, scientists, lawyers or art historians. After finishing their “training,” they can either join the workforce, pursue the title of “meister” (master in his/her field) or decide to go to a university or a professional college.
The system may not be perfect, but it provides some aspects worthy of a more thorough treatment than Mr. Lane’s. While he worried that free college in the United States might “breed entitlement,” which is the condition of having a right to something, Germany believes in the right to free higher education.
Lotte Fleck, Washington
Charles Lane should answer a question: How many Fortune 500 or Fortune 50 chief executives do not have a college degree? (The answer is only 35 of the 500 and one of the 50, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 education survey.)
The United States has fallen to 16th in college completion among adults ages 25 to 34. While President Obama has pledged to retake the lead by 2020, we are now behind South Korea, Canada and Japan. We are mortgaging our future to the countries that do provide free tuition.
While Mr. Lane is right that richer folks can afford more tuition, the United States clearly has gone the wrong route by diminishing college subsidies and loans if we want to maintain worldwide technology and business leadership.
Robert Weiner, Accokeek
Autumn Kelly, Silver Spring