Thursday, February 13, 2014

Education Soapbox

I make no apologies for my brief rant that is about to unfold in front of your eyes. Sorry, I'm not sorry.

I work in higher education and have for over 12 years now. I myself have a college degree and highly recommend the same to anyone else who will listen. Today while sitting in a meeting, we were informed that our local, public district "showcased" a new pledge last night on the news. What was this pledge they're promoting, you may ask? I shall tell you.

They've asked all of their freshmen high school students to take an oath to graduate high school. GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL. While I get what they're trying to accomplish, hearing about this news feature made me extremely sad and angry.

#1, WHY isn't this a given? Why do we have to ask our children, the future members of our society and workforce, to promise to finish high school? I mean.... C'mon people, that should be a given! I knew kids who skipped class, rarely did their homework, and yet, still managed to stay in school, graduate and beyond. You did not want to be THAT kid who dropped out or flunked out. No way. Why is this sad state of affairs news worthy?!

#2, WHY are we not asking them to pledge to go on to some form of post-secondary schooling? Whether technical or career training, a 2 year degree, 4 year or a Master's, WE need to ask more of our children. If we don't, who will? Their manager at the mall? Doubtful. Kids needs to be challenged, not asked to do the bear minimum that is required of them. What type of example are we setting here?

In a world and society that is constantly changing and advancing, only those with an education will succeed. People complain and tote bumper stickers raging against the "1%", but guess what, who do you think makes enough to help support the cost of the social services it takes this country to feed those who aren't working? It's the educated. Don't get me wrong, I'm a bleeding heart and I want people to get the help they need and I know that some hard working folks just don't make enough to keep their head above water, BUT the help they need can be eliminated by a quality education. There ARE jobs out there. We just don't have qualified people to fill them. When less than 50% of our community has a high school diploma or GED, and less than 7% have some form of college degree, it'll be hard to make the changes that people want to see around here. YOU MUST be the change and a high school diploma just doesn't cut it anymore sadly. I wish it did, but it doesn't.

Don't have the funding to go to college? There are thousands of people like me who get up every morning and go to work to find the funds that can and will afford you an education. You just have to apply. We're waiting for you. We're all desperate for you. Generous donors have stroked the check and banked on the hope that you'll attend and give their hard earned dollars a new life.

Don't pledge to do the minimum. Please. Pledge to do more. Be more. You can do it, even if no one else is telling you that you can. I'm telling you that YOU CAN. I've got your back!

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