posted on Apr, 25 2012 @ 01:26 PM
Every individual deserves an education. No person should be kept out of the loop of knowledge we humans, and the countless others who came before
us, have gained about our world. We as Americans recognize this fact, and provide primary and secondary education as a public good: they are
available to all, and denied to none. While the effectiveness of the current public schooling model can be a touchy subject for some, the existence
of public schools is necessary for the development and future of our society. When we all have the opportunity to explore new ways of thinking and
experience new ideas, we all have the chance to find something that grabs us. We have the chance to find what we care about, what motivates us to
action, what inspires us to learn more; we have a chance to find a purpose for ourselves. To learn about the world and ourselves is a human right
equal to any other God- given right. Not only is it a right, but an obligation of us all to learn about, and understand our world. How can we let the
knowledge of the countless generations of men and women who came before us go to waste? There are other noble pursuits in life, but every person
should have the opportunity to continue their education if they choose, unimpeded by high tuition cost.
The pursuit of education is not only in the individual’s best interest, but the interest of society as a whole. Where would any of us be
without doctors, engineers or teachers? Life spans would shorten, and quality of life would suffer; technological innovation would slow, and gaining
an advanced education would be nearly impossible. There is nothing more important to the well-being of a state, or the world, than education. When
we gain knowledge we are able to make better choices concerning our world. We are able to recognize and react to problems. When one is educated
about contraception the problem of unwanted pregnancies can be avoided; when one is educated about the geological history of an area, one can make
informed decisions on planning for the development of that area. Whether it is inventing, creating, maintaining, or improving infrastructure for
cities or developing, testing, and producing cutting edge nanotechnology, educated individuals are needed in every aspect of life. They help us to
learn from the past to understand the present, and plan for the future.
Industrial agriculture still produces large monocultures; large areas of land devoted to growing a single crop species, which take away plant
diversity, and make the crops susceptible to diseases and insects. A wide range of chemicals are then sprayed to counter these problems. These
chemicals bio-accumulate through the food chain and end up inside our bodies. These days some companies modify the genes of some crops to be pest or
disease resistant, as with Monsanto and their “Round-Up Ready” genetically modified soybean, corn, alfalfa, canola, cotton, and sugar-beet plants.
The decision if these technologies are worth any potential risk is ours, as citizens of this country, and world, and as such we have a responsibility
to educate ourselves about these issues. As Rachel Carson argues, “[t]he public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road, and
it can do so only when in full possession of the facts”. With greater accessibility to higher education, there will be more individuals learning
about, researching, and working on these issues. The more they learn about these issues, the greater the benefit to society from their education.
It makes sense that with society benefiting from the education of an individual, the education should be provided by the society. Just as
primary and secondary schooling are publicly funded, so post-secondary schooling should be publicly funded. It seems counter-intuitive to say that
people should be restricted from gaining an advanced education because of money; if one wants to move up in socio-economic status, while at the same
time benefiting society as a whole, why should there be a financial barrier? Why must one dish out tens of thousands of dollars to better themselves
and society? Our society does seem to be obsessed with debt; is it some sort of cultural initiation? Education is a deterrent against poverty;
poverty should never be a deterrent against education.
A future of rising tuition costs creates a looming obstacle for anyone with hopes of college, but without the financial means. There are
loans of course, and with reasonable interest rates, but one should not have to repay the state when they come out contributing more to society than
when they went in. It is a sad state of affairs when money is even a question with regard to education. If the United States Air Force decided not
to purchase two F-22 Raptor fighter jets at roughly $143 million a piece, there would be $286 million extra dollars that, instead of going to the
cause of mass murder, could go to covering tuition and living expenses of $30,000 a year to over 2300 people for four years (www.af.mil). That is two
jets out of 137 purchased since 2005. These prices also do not take into account investment costs by the Air Force of $28 billion prior to purchase
of any air craft, which brings the final cost of each jet as high as $338 million per jet.
Instead of flexing our military muscle as a nation, we should use our resources to develop a society past the points of mediocrity and
inequality. Instead of maintaining military bases all over the world, let’s bring our troops home; let’s give them the opportunity to get an
education, and find what they want in life. The defense of the nation should come from within: a state of informed individuals is a state of strong
individuals. Let’s take capital out of the dead end investment of war: violence, fear, and hate get us no further than where we started.
The responsibility to learn and gain knowledge inevitably falls on each of our heads. Providing the means to an education is not the difficult part
of creating an informed public; the difficulty is convincing us that an education is important. In the end it will always be a mix of motivations;
money, social prestige, self-fulfillment, curiosity or desperation will move one to learn. Hopefully we will see one day that it is our obligation to
learn; an obligation not only to ourselves, but future generations. Through the intellectual enlightenment of the nation we can conquer all threats,
foreign and domestic, natural and manmade, present and future.