“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”
– President John Adams
Ever since I can remember my parents pushed me to be the best in my class and gain as much knowledge as possible—it was the best advice my parents ever gave me. It follows then that I graduated top of my class in elementary school and went to one of the best high schoos in the U.S. With this acknowledgement of their support I also give myself credit for the above accomplishments.
Our history with education began 1695 with the Boston Latin School which was the first U.S public school. In 1821 the first public high school also originated in Boston and by the end of the 19th century public high schools started to outnumber private institutions. The United States has always believed in investing in education.
Throughout the 1960s the Great Society continued to legislate our investment in education. Due to this continued commitment the high school graduation rate has grown since the beginning of the 20th century and has reached 85%.
Unfortunately, the importance of education as an investment has lost its luster since those day: Restricted funding, high interest rates, and rising tuition costs have stifled this generation from attaining the education to compete in the global market. The gap between those with a high school degree vs. a college degree for 25-32 year-olds has grown to $17,500 per year—obviously there is a need to invest in post-secondary education.
Today’s leaders need to have the courage to invest in post-secondary education, which will lead to higher employment, higher wages and a more competitive U.S. workforce. They can start by following the advice of Jaime Casap who said, “Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, instead ask what problem they want to solve. This changes the conversation from ‘who do I want to work for’ to ‘what do I need to learn to be able to do that‘.
Let’s work together to not only fund an education system but also transform it into one that produces critical thinkers. We need to reach out to our local schools and ask where they need assistance. Ask to come in as a guest speaker, donate resources that will allow a child to learn outside the traditional system, or volunteer your time to mentor a student.
Together anything and everything is possible as long as we are willing to make the sacrifices to do so.
– JuanPablo P.