TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Attending College IS a Right. Enrich the person & the future (theirs & ours) via Mandatory 4 yr Higher Ed in the US or Compulsory K - 16

The purpose of education is to provide for the whole child - mind, body and spirit. Yet maturation from child to adult takes longer than we've previously recognized. 18 yrs may be the age of emancipation, but 23 - 25 yrs is when our brains reach maturity.

Now is a time of unpresidented technological enlightenment. A time when boundaries and borders are lifted, virtually and otherwise. We enjoy medical and scientific advancements, extreme activities and ideals to match, diversity and more equality than ever before. Certainly there is much to change yet - and with all our forward movement, there remain many injustices to right, discoveries to be made, theories to prove and even worlds to explore beyond what we know right now.

I propose that we take the steps needed to match this Enlightened Era of Advancments - by fostering what could become a true Renaissance in Education. I believe youth of today should receive the full benefit of a K - 16 compulsary education.

It is wrong to limit potential based upon income. Should people who will ultimately shape our world be told our belief in their potential is up. Expired? at 17?

Yet that is what we are doing. We limit their viability, their potential and waste opportunity for national growth and positive change when we allow the atrophy of educational opportunity based on age, not maturity. We discriminate based on income, penalize middle class families with extraordinary debt.

Instead, Imagine a nation of Renaissance Men & Women; Educated, Active, Aesthetically minded, but for the first time in Western civilization, this balance of person and intellect also carries the torch of Equality, Diversity, Innovation.
Because all they gained they were GIVEN, freely - regardless of race, creed or color, blind to gender or sexual preference or religious affiliation. Without the weight of debt. No longer are the benefits of Higher Education a privilege, but instead a Right. To benefit the individual, & strengthen the nation.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Dec 7 2011: Hi Libby,

    I'll leave the "how are we going to pay for it" for someone else

    Making any kind of service mandatory for 20 and 21 years olds is going to be a very tough sell. We can't even get better than 70% of our youth to graduate from High School. I don't see very many of these kids thinking that another 4 years is a great idea.

    Best wishes,
    Doug Bell
    • Dec 7 2011: Hi Doug - When we look at why kids drop out, much of it has to do with with socio-economic factors that require change. In order to be a catalyst for change - where do we start? The country remains so divided among political lines for instance. To be without an education that allows you to compete - one that teaches language, real world skills, aesthetics, global diversity, just as an example. I know it's Utopian at best - and unrealistic - for now. But if Vocational schools and Colleges were merged - if value and merit was given to (just as an example) workforce and labor development, farming and agriculture, in the same manner it is to liberal arts and fine arts - I think we might actually give our young people more hope for the future. I think there is much for everyone to learn - and to be quite honest - the amount of young people who graduate college without a real skill - is astounding. And out of balance. That we view each other still as Blue Collar, White Collar, etc - speaks to the fact that as a society - we with-hold education, the beauty of it, the fun of it, from so many. Some education at a higher level really is about maintaining wonder, curiosity and a healthy respect for how much there s to learn. Further - maybe much of the problems we see in 20 - 21 yr olds is due to what we give them - way too soon. For all the kids who turn away from furthering their education, how many would actually jump at the chance? Would the vision of life beyond high school become less unrealistic if there was still a path to direct them? Would more time to teach and learn make a difference in the quality of education?
      It wouldn't be easy - for sure. And it might not be a good idea. But once we become to used to the way things ARE, it's harder to imagine what COULD BE. How would this be funded, hopefully with money. ;) JK Like I said - this is about suspending disbelief - and bringing up the pro's and cons. (and yes - there are many hurdles)
      • Dec 10 2011: Hi Libbey, who will pay for it? First, we have the problem, of getting children to live. To live to the age of college. It is not a right. It is earned. :)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.