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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.


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    Dec 7 2011: Libby,

    I think that the impetus is now upon us to take advantage of the education free to us. College, though valuable in its education, has already been rendered virtually useless (see the current amount of college grads that can't get work.) On top of that place the insurmountable debt.

    I would fully agree that the Level of Education should be free and available (which it currently is for those with access to the internet.) It is in need of individuals willing to create valid curriculum.

    But the brick and mortar college is falling to the wayside in irrelevance. Perhaps an overhaul of the education system would make it more appealing to me.
    • Dec 7 2011: Hi Grant,

      I agree that it's quite possible to spend $250,000 on a college degree that doesn't get you a job. I would disagree that this is the only outcome. I know several recent graduates who spent $80,000 for a Bachelors degree and had multiple offers for professional positions. Jobs that are 1) important to them and society, 2) cannot be performed without college training, and are 3) well paid. Now, they did "settle" for a well respected state university whose tuition, room and fees are less than $20,000 / yr. And they also studied things like calculus and organic chemistry.

      Frankly, I don't have a lot of sympathy for someone who complains that their $60,000 /yr private college gives them a degree in a field that does not have $100,000 / yr jobs (or even $40,000/yr jobs).

      There is a broad spectrum of higher education. Some is very expensive, some less so, and some is pretty reasonable. From what I've seen, new options are constantly coming available and new ideas are welcome.

      Best wishes,
      Doug Bell
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      Dec 8 2011: "But the brick and mortar college is falling to the wayside in irrelevance."

      That's news to me. And apparently to many others, since "brick and mortar college" enrollment (in the U.S.) is higher than ever, and continues to rise, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
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        Dec 9 2011: Paul, though no one can argue that enrollment is up for many reasons, high enrollment does not imply it as relevant or useful.

        For example, I manage a branch of a Fortune 500 business. In recent job interviews I was interview PhD and MBA graduates who were far less capable of the job than the "uneducated" individuals and entrepreneurs who came through my doors.

        Further, to Libby's point that it should be a human right is taking it a step too far. Watching Sir Ken Robert's TED talk on the state of education reveals a need for a major overhaul in the education model. This is true, and especially true in the developed world. But when speaking of human rights, we must look at the broad spectrum of the human race.

        I therefore look to our work in Haiti over the last 4 years to consider if the brick and mortar, debt-ridden model of education would work for them. Most of my Haitian friends want the education, the ideas, the resources that is available to the rest of the world. They just could neither imagine a) where to even find a brick and mortar college, nor b) taking something that they could not obtain debt free. Borrowing that much money is not an acceptable paradigm in the least.

        The level of education, the access to information I agree is relevant and useful; it could be a human right.

        The Americana college experience should not.
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          Dec 9 2011: You're right that my comment doesn't suggest that traditional education is relevant, it just suggests than many people think it is. I happen to think it is, since it normally instills a degree of rigor and care in thought and research that is hard to cultivate otherwise.

          Like you, I've had the experience of hiring and working with people where the level of formal education was no indication of their fitness for the job. But of course that depends on the circumstance. For the same reason I don't think that employees (e.g., teachers) should be paid extra for additional degrees, as they often are. Frequently the extra degree is indeed irrelevant. (I must say that some of the least relevant degrees come from non-traditional institutions, like web-based colleges.)

          Clearly Haiti's approach to education and its funding needs a different model from that which may work in the U.S. What they do have is available manpower, if that can be put to productive use. Best of luck with your work there.

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