At the same time that thousands of kids are graduating and receiving all the support and encouragement to continue, several messages are appearing telling these students and their families that going to college is not worthwhile.
Public education in the United States is almost free. That is if you do not include additional money for books, food, clothing, etc. Add to the financial stability of the family, which in many cases is not the best given the uncertainty and scarcity of jobs. The efforts made by most families to support a child throughout their school years goes beyond the 180 school days. For minorities the struggles are even more, and for immigrant families the amount of hurdles to overcome are countless.
After having to learn a new language, new culture and facing all sorts of discrimination, the children finally make it to 12th grade and graduate!
Everybody has told them that education is the only bridge out of poverty; so in order to move ahead they are expected to enter college. Lately the dream of going to college is farther away for minority students. The Dreamers are a clear example of how high school graduates cannot make their dreams come true.
On top of the usual obstacles, now, in states like Indiana and some others, the state government has new laws that affect registration at public colleges. According to the new laws, students who are undocumented must pay international tuition instead of the local one.
The previous regulation was that if a student had graduated from one of the local schools, it was assumed that he/she was a resident of the state; therefore they were paying the local tuition. Many of these students struggle to attend and pay the local community college; they usually work and study at the same time and their families also help them.
Before a panorama of need, effort, and struggle we now have a message from Peter Thiel, a billionaire founder of Paypal and early investor in Facebook, who is offering $100,000 to those who want to drop out of college. His main argument is that given the great expense of a college education and the fact that big business owners such as Mark Zuckerberg, (Facebook); Steve Jobs, (Apple), and Bill Gates (Microsoft) are all dropouts, it does not make sense to encourage young people to spend so much money since the end product is a huge debt and no jobs. According to Thiel, the education bubble will burst like the housing one did because education is being overprized.
Therefore my question is: Is this graduating generation falling in a financial trap? Are there other ways of approaching education? Could there be an answer in the third world countries?
Knowledge is the way to higher levels. Are we investing in knowledge or in a pre-fabricated educational product?
Are the dreams and hope of the students, families and community something to honor and support, or do they have to sacrifice health and daily life in order to put one student through college?
How many recent college graduates do you know that are unemployed or underemployed? Is it time to work with the schools searching for better educational deals for all? These are some of the valid questions that arise in this new century, where changes are taking place and old dated assumptions are bound to create failures.
Congratulations to the new graduates! May God give you new eyes to see reality and a courageous heart and mind to create your future!
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