We talk a great deal about the cost and money of education and how important it is to do 2 things regarding educated citizens:
- Get a college or university degree. We all know that having a college degree significantly increases your earning capacity over a lifetime. On average a college education means about $1,000,000 more in earnings. Also having a college education is the means to securing the jobs that have the higher pay. In the recent recovery, out of the 11.6 million jobs created that were filled, 11.5 million jobs were filled by those with education beyond high school according to the Dallas Morning News.
- Minimize the expense of getting one. We are constantly talking about methods and means by which you can minimize the cost of obtaining a college education. Doing so increases the return on your investment and minimizes the amount of debt incurred that one would have to service post-graduation. This creates financial flexibility post-graduation to buy a home, start a family, travel, and many other valuable considerations.
Educated Citizens Are Republicans (not talking the political party)
While those two factors are really important, I want to address another extremely important component of getting a college education. That is not just preparation of a work force, but that is creating citizens that contribute to the greatest nation on the earth! Where else do our young people learn to express their thoughts and beliefs, as well as respectfully listen to others and their deeply held concerns and beliefs? This type of training happens within the halls and classrooms of not only colleges and universities, but in our elementary, middle and high schools of America. This is a place and process whereby our children learn about their rights, and their responsibilities as a result of those rights. Hopefully in this tremendous learning environment they come to balance appropriately the “pursuit of happiness” and the “common good”. We also hope that they would come to realize how this freedom and the tremendous value of this freedom for education comes at such high costs. Coming with this, comes the accountability of participation and contribution back to this great nation, to maintain this freedom, as well as the pursuit of education.
Horace Mann wrote in 1848, “It may be an easy thing to make a Republic; but it is a very laborious thing to make Republicans.” This is not about the political party but the raising up of a citizenry that are self-governing and have the wisdom to preserve our freedoms for the advancement of mankind. Within our educational institutions there are several tremendous benefits derived as follows:
- Shaping engaged, effective, responsible citizens.
- Preparing our people to be able to think about things deeply.
- Training our children how to hear others and repeat their beliefs.
- Appreciating what a great thing freedom is and all of its benefits.
- Creating a sense of responsibility to contribute to our national well-being.
- Learning how to manage conflict while being tolerant of others and coming to satisfactory compromises for the greater good.
- Preparing a people that supports the common good and ultimately strengthens society.
Mary Prater recently wrote “public education is a cornerstone of a civil and prosperous democratic community.……education is a public imperative, a moral endeavor and a shared responsibility for all members of society. A free society requires a prepared citizenry for its very survival. Yet individuals are not born with a knowledge of democratic rights and duties; these must be taught. And, because of the diversity they embody, public schools are the most effective places to teach these values.”
So even though we concentrate a lot on the money of education, there are higher purposes and values associated with an education and not just at the college level. Education is important!