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Allen Hutson’s commentary on the workforce readiness of college graduates (Commentary, “Are college grads workforce-ready?” Sept. 17, Oklahoma Gazette) suffers from a fundamental misunderstanding of higher education.

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Critical thinking

Allen Hutson’s commentary on the workforce readiness of college graduates (Commentary, “Are college grads workforce-ready?” Sept. 17, Oklahoma Gazette) suffers from a fundamental misunderstanding of higher education.

Hutson wrote, “Most college students do not treat college like they are preparing for an 8-to-5 job. But that is the purpose of college.” No, it isn’t. That has never been the historical purpose of college at any point, nor is it the present purpose of college. The mission statements of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma nowhere mention preparing students for an 8-to-5 job or any sort of job for that matter. UCO promises as its goal “a transformational education” leading to “more productive, creative, ethical and engaged citizens and leaders.” More eloquent than most, this mission statement is typical in that UCO, like OU and OSU, is not trying to serve as the training center for local employers.

Historically, colleges encourage and foster the generation of new ideas, original problem solving and thoughtful articulation of ideas and solutions so society will benefit from these qualities in ways the college cannot readily anticipate.

An education that prepares a student for a particular job or range of jobs is no education at all. It’s called training.

Universities educate critical human beings; they do not train workers. Students take their educations home and contribute to economies that prize innovative and creative models of thinking. Some of our business leaders bemoan the inapplicability of college educations to their immediate needs, but future economic leaders look for the best-educated workforce they can find.

Michael Lee Norman

Freedom from and of religion

Robin Meyers (Commentary, “If only I was a corporation,” Aug. 6, Gazette) has once again found something to frown disapprovingly over ... but then, we always knew that he would, didn’t we? No matter what Robin may wish to think, the court made a valid decision in the Hobby Lobby case, recognizing that, yes, the Greens do indeed have freedom from the religion of their employees.

After all, freedom from religion and freedom of religion are mutually required things: where you do not have one, you do not have either, and any claims that one is more important than the other are symptoms of a failure to pay enough consideration to their natures and needs.

It is a shame that it had to come to this; let us hope that Congress eventually replaces mandatory insurance with a health care voucher extension to the minimum wage, thereby eliminating the entire argument in one fell swoop. That the health care mandate was ever included is a sign of the tunnel vision Democrats hold in respect to health care.

And Robin? Your tax metaphor is directly equivalent to saying that you have a moral say in respect to how I spend money that you have given to me as payment — all moral responsibility ends when the dollar changes hands. Your moral responsibility in regard to taxes is political in nature, not fiscal. Otherwise everyone must be a slave to everyone else. — Jared Maddox Oklahoma City

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