Liberal arts education

pays off for students

In the article "LI colleges change course," News, Sept. 26], parents are quoted as bemoaning liberal arts education as useless for preparing their children for a job.

As a philosophy professor, I'm often asked: "But what can I do with that degree?" Here is my response: Yes, you can major in a particular job skill now at many colleges, but what guarantee is there that there will be a need for that particular job when you graduate? The chance that you will do one job for your working career is pretty much zero now.

Unlike focused career-based majors, the liberal arts prepare a student to work and live in a world that may be quite different from the one in which we live right now. But there will still be people from different cultures with whom we will need to work and live. History will still matter and we will want and need to be informed so that we can hear what they are saying. We will need to communicate clearly and in emotionally sensitive ways across a global environment. We will want to determine, on our own, what politician to believe, what platforms to support, which food to eat and products to use.

Trade schools and career majors serve a purpose, but if a young person wants to expand his or her horizons beyond a particular set of focused skills, a liberal arts degree should indeed "liberate" them from the natural prejudices we all share. It can help us develop toward creative and caring living, accompanied by critical judgment. And what CEO doesn't want that kind of young executive on his or her staff, regardless of the major?

Wendy C. Turgeon

St. James

Editor's note: The writer is an associate professor of philosophy at St. Joseph's College.

Not over till it's over

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession ended in June of 2009 .

Don't take that news to the bank. Why? That statement has the same credibility as when, in May of 2003, President George W. Bush announced to the world from an aircraft carrier that the "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

More than seven years later, President Barack Obama officially ended the combat mission in Iraq. Let us hope that we do not have to wait six more years for this recession to come to its true end.

Jack Umstatter

Islip

No jobs to spare

Sure, Newsday, lets bring in Haitians to take more jobs and have them send what they earn back to Haiti .

In case you don't read your own paper, we have a slight problem with employment for our own citizens.

Thomas J. Travell

Bayport