TED Conversations

  • Ann Lee
  • San Jose, CA
  • United States


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I believe the right to an education is a basic human right..what can we do to make that a reality?

Governor Brown just signed the Dream Act and that propelled me to think about how accessible education is in United States and around the world. Education shouldn't be something that only the privileged can afford. What can we do to give every child an opportunity to improve their lives through education?


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    Oct 27 2011: Great question! And apart from what had been said about the importance and justification of more accessible education, a more practical question might be: can we really afford such equality? Bear in mind that equal right doesn't necessarily mean equal access or even equal opportunity.

    First, we only have certain amount of resources-making them available to more people might mean that each people will have less. For instance, by making more people get into colleges, Chinese government has been in fact lowering the standard and end-result of higher education. And I think that's definitely not something we want to see.

    Second, where exactly can we get the money we need to make such equality happen? in an economy as unstable as now, every governments are facing the problem of deficit. If we are borrowing the money from tomorrow to make the people today to have a more equal education, is that a little unfair for future generation?

    In addtion, I have another concern about the working definition of "equal opportunity". More often than not, a university with a equal opportunity scheme will admit more disadvantaged students even though they have a lower score. but It's really a gray area of fairness. By doing this, we are creating new inequality.

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