Education Is A…

October 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Student loan debt is higher than credit card debt. This came as breaking news (not really. I wrote about this months ago. Keep up mainstream) two weeks ago but not to anyones surprise. Tuition (for an in depth study, UT Watch did a tuition and fees report for their school) has increased by 400% since the 1970s while wages have been, well, stagnant.

Why should anyone be surprised?

The real concern should be the embarrassing salary teacher’s receive. Where is all this money going?

In a world where degree-holders are held in high esteem and degrees are required for the normal high paying careers, one is determined to attain one. The thing is, for the overwhelming majority of Americans, a higher education is simply too costly. There are a few factors for the back-breaking cost and one is the common ideology that education is a privilege.

Let’s take a look at the definition of “privilege.” According to my Dictionary.com Android app, privilege is “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.”

As I stated earlier, several professions require a degree, and people who want to move up from a menial 9 to 5 go into severe debt trying to do so. 88% of medical students graduate with over $180,000 tied to their name and third with over $200,000; not to mention everybody’s favorite friend – interest. Get thee behind me interest!

In a time of austerity, I have the same belief with President Obama that we should “out-educate and out-innovate” but that’s sort of hard to do when education is always the first on the chopping block. We place 37th in the world for education spending (% of GDP). How can the People move up from minimum wage without having debt up to their neck?

Then again, you have to remember too many politicians are far removed from the real world and are convinced minimum wage is enough. When asked on her husband’s stellar record in job creation (Texas has the largest workforce working at minimum wage in the country), Anita Perry, presidential hopeful Rick Perry’s wife replied, “…they’re a job, even if they’re a minimum wage job. And that’s what people are hungry for.” I can bet my life she hasn’t a clue what minimum wage is because we all know people are “hungry” for minimum wage jobs.

Leaving menial jobs might not be a focus for politicians like my state governor Rick Perry, but it is down here in the real world. Despite Perry’s 2006 re-election campaign ads professing his main focus was education and “education is our future and my highest priority,” Texas laid off thousands of teachers and Perry signed a law that slashed education by an unprecedented $4 billion and refused to touch the Rainy Day Fund. Reports estimate 29,000 public school jobs will be lost by next school year. Also, Texas schools have implemented various fees and posted ads on school buses to plug the holes.

Politicians lie.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan suggests students should work three jobs, as if finding one job isn’t a task in it’s own, instead of accepting Pell Grants. With this type of language, it’s unnecessary to say Ryan certainly had a privileged upbringing and background.

In essence, if you agree education is a privilege, I agree with you but probably not in the same way. It is a privilege, as the definition puts it, in the fact it’s becoming (or already is) a “benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most.” As tuition continues to climb and students battle a seemingly un-winnable battle against tuition hikes, the rich may be the only ones able to afford college, and the poor, well, the poor will remain poor. Or in debt for 30 years.

This is a huge problem.

That is, of course, if you’re not hungry for minimum wage jobs.

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