Knowledge Is Priceless, Education Is Not
By Katrina Glowatz, Kadlif-rashid Bactowal,Kristina Aganova, Elena Danginis, Kimberly Galeano
Hi all. This website is fabulous! I love how you give a human face to all of the statistical data by sharing your own narratives. Here is mine:
The reason free public higher education is so important to me is because I had the rare opportunity to go to my state public school (Rutgers University) for free. In fact, I got to attend their prestigious honors college, which provided an experience very similar to an elite Ivy institution (small classes and seminars, faculty mentorship, the opportunity to do research as an undergraduate). As many of you mentioned, this experience changed my life. Like Katrina, I had always been bored–and a troublemaker!–in highschool. It wasn’t until college that I discovered things I was truly passionate about: language, philosophy, sociology, economics, history, and literature. It is infuriating to think about how lucky I was to have had the experience. It shouldn’t have to be the product of luck. Everyone should have the opportunity to discover what they’re passionate about.
Higher education is supposed to be society’s great equalizer. We are told that no matter where we come from, we can work hard, earn a college degree, and get a good job. If this is the case, why do we place so many financial obstacles on the path towards higher education? It’s a real, and really difficult, question, the answer to which involves the United States’ very long history of economic inequality (the Declaration of Independence, for instance, was written by slaveholders). It’s a question I hope we will continue thinking about, and working together to address.
This is one of the most thoughtful blogs on higher education I’ve read. If it is okay with you, I’d love to tweet it out and maybe also ask Prof Savonick to post the link to HASTAC so readers there can see and respond to it as well. One thing I think about a lot: the cost of ALL private education soaring, not just higher education but K-12 too. The tuition now at the top private elite high schools is about the same as at the Ivy League universities. So then I am interested to know what it means that private college education–rather than private education in general–is the subject of such critique. Don’t we deserve great public, affordable education for all, at every level? I’m told the average pre-school in NYC now is around 15K a year. How early does family income begin to sort out who thrives in our society and who does not? And how does educational inequality map along racial lines?
These are such profound questions about the nature of civil society. Thank you for making me think deeply. Your perspective is more complex and human than half of what I read on this topic by professional writers, policy makers, and pundits (and I’m writing a book on this so I read a lot). I admire your professionalism, your research skills, your fine presentation–and your personal stories.
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