Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world — Nelson Mandela
President Obama’s utterance on education is not only a breath of fresh air, but also one that indicates an understanding of what it takes for people from different socio-economic backgrounds to have an equal opportunity of achieving success — Education.
I would argue that it is within the context of a good education that all Americans can find purpose and meaning in Martin Luther King’s Jr. dream which states in part, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
This speaks to not only human dignity, but also access to be at the table, and a position of equality and partnership that I would posit can come about only through education.
Yes, healthcare, economic recovery, infrastructural development, stimulus program, and war against terrorism, among others are all good and important.
However, I would also argue that a legacy grounded in the social upliftment of the American people through the implementation of a policy that overhauls the education system would be a step in the right direction and would find favor among future generations.
The President has already advanced the idea of making two years of college as free and universal as high school. This should not be left at the altar of talk, but ought to be executed with some degree of urgency.
The fact is education at the tertiary level is fast becoming beyond the reach of the common people because of wage freeze and the rapid increase in cost.
According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2014–2015 school year was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,958 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.
Multiply that out and you get $124,924, in total bachelor’s degree tuition at private school and $36,556 at public school and $91,832 for out-of-state residents — do the math on having 2 to 4 children in college.
The truth is the U.S. must be the only developed country in the world where the price of tertiary education is proving to be prohibitive for the average citizen or left one with massive amount debt averaging thousands of dollars.
The time for the greatest investment in the human capital of the country is now and to ignore this would be myopic and a betrayal of the trust of our forefathers.
Davy Desmond, Readers Bureau, Fellow
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