Taken from the Lincoln -Douglas debates from Civil War Pres. Abraham Lincoln entitled “Working and Taking” from Book V called “Revolt.” This chapter is summarized as to pertain to “The struggle to abolish injustice; the battle cries of the new army which is gathering for the deliverance of humanity.”
That is the real issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles that have stood the face to face from the beginning of time. The one is the common right of humanity, the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says “you toil and work and earn bread and I’ll eat it.”
On Jan. 9th at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN, Pres. Obama issued a landmark proposal for the government to pay the tuition for two-year community college programs nationwide, making them free. It is a stunning step that could raise the quality of life for millions of Americans.
The obtainment of a secondary-education is the path to the middle class for both newly graduated high school students and older adults looking to advance themselves who could not otherwise afford it.
According to a piece in the NYT by Justin Wolfers, in “The Upshot”, the macro economic benefits would also be great for it would increase both output and raise living standards across the middle and lower classes. He continues that:
Mr. Obama’s proposal is an effort to revive education as one of the drivers of economic growth. If he succeeds in persuading more of the next generation to continue beyond high school, and to invest in community college and possibly beyond, there’s a strong chance the rate of economic growth will be bolstered for decades to come. And relative to other ways of strengthening growth, investment in community college is most likely to ensure that the middle class shares in the benefits of it.
Now students must attend community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward completing their program to be eligible. So there are strings attached that I am sure the critics will love to claim are not there.
And for those fiscal hawks out there, the government would pay for 75% of the costs (by investing $60 billion over the next 10 years) while the participating state would cover the remaining 25%. But keep in mind that the annual Federal budget is $3.5 trillion , making $60 million a drop in the bucket.
And one other thing. Make sure that we keep in mind that furthering one’s education does not solely benefit us economically. It also makes us more informed, better suited citizens ready to lead our nation through voting choices or even by holding higher-office.
A good piece in The Atlantic on how high school students today believe a college education is purely a path to economic prosperity, not an opportunity to awaken intellectually.
The point is also made that this line of thought is prominent amongst lower-income students. I was one of these kids written about and it’s true. With a mother who has an eighth grade education, I did not reside in an affluent neighborhood growing up. So I fell into this trap as I entered college.
But after my initial two years of study at the University of Louisville, I found philosophy, media studies, and sociology, which were priceless in developing my critical thinking skills and have enriched my life immensely.