An Educated Society

On Thanksgiving morning, I ran to Kroger to pick up some grocery items.  I went to the cashier and talked to him during my purchased.  I wished him a happy holiday season and stated at least he was making double overtime and leaving early.  The cashier pointed out that he was not making anything extra.  It was just a normal day for the store.  I thought this was sad for him. 

Many employees live paycheck to paycheck.  Some employees in low paying jobs like retail are college and high school students attempting to put some money into their pocket as they move on to something else.  However, there are many people for the next several years these jobs are their endpoint due to the lack of advanced education.    

The economic crisis has wreaked havoc on America’s prosperity and its future. According to a 2010 Pew Research survey, one in four adults between the ages of 18 and 24 moved back in with their parents during the recession.  Furthermore, the cost of a college degree keeps rising like gasoline for my car. 

From 1999-2000 academic year through 2009-2010, the price increase of a four year degree from a public institution was 42% with the average annual cost for four-year undergraduate tuition, room and board being $15,014 (private: $32,790).

For many students, an education is an investment. According to U.S. Census Bureau, there were over 19 million students enrolled in college in 2010 which represented an 11.5% increase from 2007.  In fact, graduate school enrollment jumped over 19% during this time.  Horace Mann, an American education reformer, noted “A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.” Another education reformer John Dewey added, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”  

However, an education is not a silver bullet or the solution for an individual’s well-being.  In an economic crisis, even highly educated or seasoned professionals can be a casualty.  Yet, an education provides unique opportunities. 

Doors can open with the right preparation. With a bachelor’s degree, the median income for individuals in 2010 was $47,422 which was 80% higher than those individuals with only a high school diploma. 

For individuals with a graduate or professional degree, this figure jumped to a median income of $62,618.  Therefore, it becomes more important for students to be strategic in their education. 

There should be a component of selecting the appropriate college degree or technical training, obtaining  practical experience in the specific industry, and developing a robust professional network to seize on career opportunities.

Discuss your personal experiences on this topic.

 © 2011 by Daryl D. Green

5 thoughts on “An Educated Society

  1. I’ve worked many jobs where I’ve had to be there on holidays without the extra pay. It is definitely good motivation for getting a degree. While I haven’t yet experienced any career changes because of having a bachelor’s degree, I hope this will change once I move forward with a graduate degree. I see education as an investment, but it isn’t full-proof unless you can show that you have more to offer than many other graduates who may be trying for the same job. Even with an education it is hard to remain competitive with the large amount of other graduates who may have more experience in the desired job field.

  2. Being relatively new to the full-time workforce myself, I was unsure of our office policies in regards to Thanksgiving and other paid holidays as late as the week before. I was informed that we would be paid for the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving break as long as we worked the Wednesday before and the Monday after. All other places I had been employed at always allowed me several holidays off, but never paid.

    For one of the first times of my life, I finally had physical proof of why it pays to get an education.

    Our nation is truly in a mess. Unfortunately, I believe it will take many Americans stooping below their pay grade to make ends meet, both for their families and for our nation. Fewer and fewer people are retiring. How could they afford it since they lost their retirement investments in the stock market? Couple this with the fact that more and more students are graduating from college and you get a log-jam in white collar America. Hopefully it will turn around soon.

    • Lindsey, I think you brought up some excellent points in your comments. I have worked full time in the past and had not received pay for the holidays. Now that I receive the pay, it makes me more thankful for what I have. One point you made is that you “believe it will take many Americans stooping below their pay grade to make ends meet.” I believe this is very true. Not only that, but Americans must stop trying to live beyond their means. We would be better off without a lot of things we want. We should instead only get those things we need. Getting a degree is one of those things that is almost essential to success these days. With more and more students graduating with $0 net value, we must get back to the fundamentals and make sure our nation is educated and responsible rather than impulsive.

  3. I think If you ask me education tell gives you path for success and it’s up to you to take the path and achieve the success. In my opinion the education of the leadership essentials is very important because each one of us shared what held us back, what will move us forward, and what support we needed. The first step for leading diverse people understands the hardships that people who do not fit the mainstream white, United States born, male culture often endure. According to the book diversity helps organizations build better relationships with diverse customers and helps develop employee potential. (Pag. 94) One aspect of diversity of recent interest is women’s style of leadership, referred to as interactive leadership. As an example of a women leadership style is the president thirtieth sixth and current president of Brazil. She is the first woman to hold the office. Prior to that, in 2006, she was also the first woman to become Chief of Staff of Brazil. Leaders evolve through stages of personal diversity awareness and action, ranging from minimum efforts to meet affirmative action guidelines to valuing diversity as an integral part organization can become inclusive.

    Daft, R.L. (2011) The Leadership Experience (5th) Mason Ohio, 45040, South-Western Cengage Learning.

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