Columnist Anne Michaud does not go far enough in challenging the prevailing notion in higher education that colleges and universities should be job-producing machines. Rather than highlighting the truly problematic elements of such thinking, she merely states, "that's not realistic." I will admit that I am an idealist, but I still believe higher education can and should be much more than merely a means to an end. Michaud joins the chorus of complainers about college students working "lesser" jobs than their degrees warrant, but many successful adults have worked entry-level jobs and have gradually developed into their careers and callings. It is also not unreasonable to imagine a student who graduated with a degree in the too-often-condemned liberal arts choosing to work a less demanding job while simultaneously pursuing his/her passion. College is about growing and developing and stretching young minds. It is about becoming more fully the person you are to be. It is not about merely becoming an employee.
SARA COFFMAN, Lookout Mountain, Ga.
I was amused by Robin Smith's effort to link Mayor Andy Berke and President Barack Obama as "liberal darlings" whose records are based on activity, not results. They are "narcissistic politicians who only know how to talk," but her accusation collapses of its own weight. It's ironic Smith would denigrate Berke for pushing to reform the fire and police pension system. Is she unaware of the underfunded city pension systems nationwide that are thus fiscally unsound? Berke's move to ensure the integrity of the city's pension fund was hardly the work of a "liberal darling." If anything, it was fiscally conservative. Smith's criticism of Obama's lack of results is also unpersuasive. Did she miss the news that Affordable Care Act sign-ups hit the target of over 7 million-plus registrants by the deadline? Like Social Security and Medicare, the ACA will need future refinements. But Smith didn't mention it was the Republicans who talked instead of acting. Indeed, the House GOP resembled a collective Captain Ahab in its doomed effort to kill the white whale of "Obamacare." Of course, that reflected the GOP's opinion of the medically uninsured: "If those folks had any gumption, they'd have been born rich." Narcissism indeed.
MICHAEL LOFTIN, Chattanooga
We are fortunate to have someone of Pam McNutt Fleenor's caliber running for Chancery judge in our May election. Pam is a native of Chattanooga who loves our community. She will work with determination to ensure that Hamilton County citizens are treated with dignity and respect. Pam's character and ability are without compare. I have known Pam for 40-plus years. She is smart, honest and compassionate with a strong work ethic. Pam was the salutatorian of Central High School, 1977, graduated from UTC, and then completed law school. She has practiced law here in Chattanooga all of her career. I know Pam well, and if you get the chance to meet her, you will feel that you know her well, too. She never meets a stranger. She is working with diligence to get out and meet as many in our community as possible. Don't hesitate to introduce yourself to her. I ask for your vote for Pam McNutt Fleenor in our upcoming May election. You will be proud of the job she will do for Hamilton County!
CAROLANNE COPPINGER, Hixson