Your editorial supporting Senate Bill 190, ("Shut Down the Diploma Mills," June 12) is a commendable step toward eliminating the abuses of unethical schools. You could do the public a further service by informing potential students about the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) vocational courses, funded by the state and administered by the county school system. Often called "the best kept secret in the educational field," the ROP has no tuition and loans books without charge. The electronics class that I teach supplies five textbooks ranging in cost from $20 to $50 each.
The lecture content and demonstration equipment of ROP courses meet or exceed similar courses of private schools that charge thousands of dollars. Usually private school students are induced to apply for a government loan, thus contributing to the one-third default rate noted in your editorial.
In passing, it should be noted that ROP instructors have state teaching credentials (not required by many trade schools), and are paid from 50% to 100% more than trade school instructors. Naturally, the higher salaries attract competent teaching staffs.
For those interested in preparing for better jobs, without cost to the students, it is suggested that they check the white pages of the phone book. Phone numbers are listed under Regional Occupational Program, or one can contact the superintendent of county schools.