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