The best way to start this article is to write it to myself. Throughout the years during my life it was no secret how important my family and community regarded a good education. For me to further my education beyond high school I knew I would be the first to go on to higher education. My path was nothing but questions on how I could actually go to on after high school? My inner thoughts were crowded with “Am I smart enough?”, “how can I afford it?”, “what should I study to become?” and many more deterrents to go forward. This time was in the mid to late 1960’s. The saying that some of us get to be in the right place at the right time applied to me. Fortune presented itself for me to gradually take the path by attending a junior college and then going on to a four-year university. I graduated as a teacher in 1969 with no student loans. I further continued my education and completed a Master’s Degree with no student loans. By age thirty-two I had finished my doctorate in education with no student loans. Did I have any scholarships or grants? Yes I did but not enough to pay for all the tuition and books. For me to complete any of my degrees I needed to work. I worked forty hours a week plus attended college full-time. How could that be possible? By planning my matriculation with courses, times and dates the plan was laid out to have a path of success. Good advisors and teachers helped to make all this happen. My goals were on a great start to completion.
Differences in that time and now was the tuition for me was affordable if I worked hard to have the additional funds each semester I could continue. Today’s tuition has grown to be inexcusably unaffordable and it has placed many students into lifetime debt. Through governmental allowable loans for students colleges escalated their tuition to be equal to what is allowable by the government programs. So upon graduation today a student now owes large amounts of money in federal student loan commitments. Colleges and schools became the scapegoat of the problem of student loan indebtedness. My era knew that upon graduation that upon taking our new jobs it would be at an entry-level and we could within time increase our incomes by our experience and our ability to be successful in our chosen professions. This worked so well it gave all students the opportunity to grow within their career. Today, loan debt has presented itself with frustration and anxiety to earn large amounts of money fast to meet student loan payments. Our government decided the way to face up to this student loan issue is to require schools tuition match a ratio with starting salaries in the given career field. This was without any regard to operations cost to the schools and the salaries needed to keep good teachers in their profession. This practice now had no regard for graduates to grow in time into their salary potential with success on the job. My work path has always been to practice a plan of getting better to achieve higher goals.
How important is a good education to any country. Should it be affordable? Does it have equity to other high priority funding in America? Does America encourage a caste system of education where those that have high incomes can afford better education than others. Have we priced out middle class Americans from attending expensive elite colleges? How many average American high school students have the opportunity to aspire to greater achievements? Has research shown the lack of trust for our schools and outcomes?
In the last few days we have only seen a small indication of the corruption and potential inequity in our systems. We will see finger-pointing and blame directed in all directions. The real need comes down to a complete look at cause and effect of all the education systems from the front door to tha back. All education in America is special. It is time all education be treated equitably. The better our citizens are educated the better our country’s foundation will stand. There is enough blame on this situation to go around running all the way to a government that has created corruption by its contradictory regulations and inequitable treatment of all schools.
America is better than this and a new era with a new path is necessary to get us back onto a moral, high integrity, dedicated systems to serve our citizens.
Any issue has a cause and usually it is deeper than it appears.
My prayers are for the those that look to education as a solution in life!