Once upon a time, a high school girl and her boyfriend found out they were expected a child in her junior year. She dropped out to have the baby while he dropped out to get a job. They struggled to make a life for their little family for a number of years while living with her parents before he left to find a better life elsewhere. She never graduated and lived off of her parents and what little support the baby’s father did provide. Once the child was old enough, she tried to find a job, but without a high school diploma, no one would hire her at a pay level to afford day care and provide for herself and her child. She lived on welfare and the generosity of others until the child entered high school. The young mom finally got her GED and found a grant and several college loans to pay for college, which she attended regularly until she earned her degree. She found a job making enough money to pay back her loans and provide for her life and family.
The baby’s father found a manual labor job working in the oil fields making pretty good money. He paid his child support and was an attentive father when he was able to spend time with his child, which wasn’t often, as he had to work a lot of over time to make ends meet. He advanced at his job until one day when his supervisor asked to speak with him about his future. The young man was capable and reliable and the company thought he would be a good candidate to move into a leadership position. The only problem was that he didn’t have a degree. He had not even finished high school. In order to keep his job, he did manage to get his GED, but he was unwilling to go to college. He enjoyed his job as it was and had no wish to take on more responsibility.
Today, the president of the United States made a proclamation that every American should have two years of free college education. Of course, it won’t be free. It will have to be paid for by taxes. He did magnanimously offer to let the states split the cost, which will just mean state taxes will help the federal taxes pay for it. Either way, it is coming out of the pockets of every American. This is wrong on so many levels, but I will try to narrow it down to two or three key points. First, not every American wants or should have a college education. Second, the history of this nation is based on individual sacrifice for individual success. Americans who scraped and saved and worked their butts off for a college degree should not have to pay for everyone else to have one handed to them. Third, once the government gets involved in education, it will turn colleges into degree mills with success being measured by the number of degrees issued rather than the quality of the education offered.
I taught freshman composition for two years at a state supported four-year university. It was a major turning point in my life; putting me on my current career path in corporate training. After fifteen years in front of a classroom I can say with no reservation that the colleges are already filled with thousands of students who have no business being in college. I had at least one student in each of my comp classes who was in school only because it was either that, or get out of their parent’s house and find gainful employment. Neither option appealed to most of these kids and their work and attendance showed it. They were wasting their parents’ money and my time—taking my attention away from other students who needed it.
Even now, in my role in learning and development, I meet adults who just do not possess the mental capacity to learn complicated thought processes or critical thinking skills. They are simple folk who know how to do what they need to do. Why should they be bothered with higher education? Just because it’s free?
America takes all kinds of people. Some are thinkers and some are doers. There are plenty of jobs that still need to be done that require no degree. In fact, even a high school diploma is wasted on some of these jobs, but they still need to be done. TV host Mike Rowe highlights many of these jobs in his cable TV show. These jobs require hard labor and a good work ethic. Many of them are not pleasant and not many people want to do them. Those who do, do not need formal education to perform them. Having the workers spend two years of tax payers’ dollars to get an associate’s degree would be a fundamental waste of money. But then again, that is what government is best at, isn’t it?
Public education has been the law of the land since before the Constitution was written, and many of the most successful people throughout history have benefitted from state-sponsored learning. The flipside of that is the millions of people who drop out or barely pass gaining absolutely no benefit from 12 years of coerced mandated attendance. Many schools are merely churning out as many kids as the state requires in order to maintain their funding. The quality of the education is secondary to the process of moving the kids along the conveyor belt to graduation. Now the administration wishes to extend that process another two years on taxpayer’s dimes. Nothing will improve.
The utopia that the progressive leftists dream about is a land where every person in the land has a college degree, is in peak physical condition, does not worship any one diety, does not think or believe in any way that is contrary to the populous and does not question the authority of the state, since after all, the state is doing such a good job taking care of them. This ensures that every citizen is able to contribute to the welfare state with the taxes collected from the high paying jobs they get after graduating. The unfortunate reality is that the state cannot take care of the populous, since many humans are not lemmings willing follow blindly the leadership of others. Not every person is cut out for college. Not every person will benefit from a college education. Not every job requires a college education.
In his address, Obama started off making a broad generalization that, on the surface, is easy to support. “I think everybody understands that it [education] is the key for success for our kids in the 21st century.” I have already poked holes in that assertion.
He went on to say, “It’s not just for kids. We also have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits.” This is so Americans can earn more, thus providing more tax revenue for the nanny state programs.
“It’s something that we can accomplish, and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody in the world,” he said, adding “So that it benefits everybody and not just some.” Again, this is the socialist agenda at work, absolving the citizen (drone) of any personal responsibility and by extension, initiative.
There are already many programs in place to help those who wish to get a college education if those people are willing to work for it. The GI Bill pays for a full degree for those willing to serve in the military. There are grants available for those lower income families who wish to improve their situation. Many corporation offer tuition reimbursement for employees who wish to go to college. The reality is that many people who don’t have a degree don’t want one.
Those who do complete college feel a great sense of accomplishment in doing so. A four-year degree requires dedication, hard work, discipline and a significant investment in time and money. Not so many high school graduates feel that same level of accomplishment because while high school does take four-years, even the laziest student can complete it with the least amount of effort. In fact, it is almost impossible to fail at this point. High schools all over the country are turning out kids with diplomas who cannot read past a seventh grade level.
Obama would have us believe that every American is like our young mom; willing to work hard to make a better life for herself with a college degree. This is not the most common case. We have several citizens who cannot read, not because they didn’t go to college, but rather because our public education system does not work properly. If we wish to fix the problem of literacy in our country, if we wish to have a generation of educated citizens, sending the illiterate to college won’t do it. We have to stop graduating illiterate kids from high school, and we have to imbue a sense of responsibility in our young. The welfare state is the exact opposite way to do that.
Do not support this initiative. If people want education opportunities, let them work to pay for them as people have done for generations. They will value them more and work harder to be successful at them.