Some see the decreased funding for higher education as part of the reason behind the inequality gap. I am slowly seeing that it may be part of the problem but it’s not a core of the problem nor a part of the solution.

This whole perspective came from four years of college. Even after four years,when many of us are supposed to have matured and taken a greater appreciation of our education and a better understanding of responsibility, I still am overwhelmed by the amount of people that are ungrateful for the opportunities given to them. We’ve all heard it before:

“This is the third time taking this class, I failed the first, quit school the second, and I’m probably going to get an F on this paper”

“I came to college to party, GPA doesn’t matter”.

“Someone told me to come to college and just get a degree, any degree”

“I plan on just taking it easy and becoming a ski bum after college”

If the United States loses it’s position as a leader in prosperity in the world (and some may argue that it already has) it’s not because of a funding issue or a political issue. It’s a culture issue. We’re spoiled brats who think that education is owed to us, a picket fence in the suburbs is OWED to us and define this as a success. We don’t go to school to learn but to earn a corner office and a picket fence in the suburbs. Unfortunately, the idea that the rich only get richer and the poor only get poorer is true, in financial terms. I think it’s time for those who think we deserve something better and need more to redefine our definition of happiness and fulfillment. Knowledge should be something you can use to make the world a better place and be more accepting of the world, knowledge shouldn’t be just a strategy to get a piece of paper that says you know how to get to class.

So if more money went into higher education, would that really solve the problem and would we really be better off? Money never ends up in the hands of those who need it most.

Examples:

  • Corporate bailouts while unemployment continues to rise, this is going to stir political comments but let me point out that both political parties have supported this
  • More funding for schools will most likely end up in most expansion and buildings because “increased enrollment” is something the university always prides itself on
    • This results in:
      • The ability to decrease standards and admit more students
      • The admission of those who can afford college but are not necessarily at a high level academically

I came to school incredibly poor and was fortunate enough to gain scholarships and grants that covered my tuition. I also understand that the aid that I received may not be available for those who need it most in the future but GUESS WHAT?

You don’t need a degree to make valuable change in the world!

You might need a degree to make a large salary but if you’re interested in that, you’re part of the problem and not the solution to all of this.

I’m about to graduate in May and when reflecting on my college education, I ask myself, “Was this all really necessary?” I say this because:

– I’ve been able to work for several great causes that would have appreciated my help just as much without a degree. Maybe I wouldn’t have had as much specific background knowledge but there are libraries and people to learn from! Why are children in basements making bombs to blow up their schools but not in their basement teaching themselves ways to make a positive difference in the world? Because they’re told that the classroom is the only place for that! The same classroom that primes them to measure success by the standards given to them, the pieces of paper that tells them whether they will be successful in life or not. Maybe the kids who want to blow up their schools know something that took me 22 years to figure out. This world is screwed up.

Will we ever win the fight in aligning priorities in the right places politically and financially? No. But it’s up to us to become better individuals and create our own agendas to help those around us instead of letting others decide what makes us successful.

“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

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