Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Education saved the day

Well man built a boat and he learned how to sail
And he traveled far and wide
Then he looked up above saw the stars in the sky
So he learned how to fly
And the inventors with their high I.Q.s
And the professors in their colleges
Trying to feed me knowledge
That I know I'll never use
Thank you sir for the millions of words
That you've handed me down and you've told me to learn

~~ “Education” by The Kinks

I read something the other day that really dismayed me. NBC conducted a poll asking whether people thought a four-year degree was worth the cost and it turns out that there has been a sharp drop-off in those who feel that it is worth it.

You’ll get no argument from me that college is quickly becoming out-of-reach for far too many. This is certainly something we need to address and I wish that every person, no matter their age, would have access to affordable college classes. It is also hard to argue with the idea that many who graduate aren’t well-equipped with skills that will result in an immediate, good-paying job.

But what really bothers me here is that there seems to be a deepening notion that an education isn’t really needed. I’m not saying that college is for everyone and I am totally on board with vocational schools that teach much-needed skills. In fact, there are a lot of high-skilled jobs out there going unfilled and that is bothersome.

I also know that college is a lot more expensive than when I went to school. A lot more expensive. I don’t remember the exact amount, but I was able to get a Bachelor’s degree for under thirty grand at one of our state schools (Ball State...go Cardinals!). I am also really fortunate in that my folks saved for my education and with the help of some small scholarships, some loans, and some strategic T-bill investing (and high interest rates at the time), my college was paid for. Believe me, I know just how fortunate I am and I am grateful every day.

Ball State isn’t an Ivy League school, but I got a degree that helped me get a job (Medical Technologist/Microbiologist) that I found very rewarding and interesting. Because it was a four-year degree, I also got to take electives that didn’t relate to my major and I enjoyed those very much. Psychology, Sociology, Archaeology, things like that. In retrospect, I wish I had taken some literature or art history courses, but that’s where online classes come in now. I still love to learn and enjoy taking the occasional course (I’m about due for another one!).

The experience of getting a four-year degree and living on campus taught me more than information. I grew up in a small town and getting away to meet new people and experience new ideas was a gamechanger for me. It exposed me to so many different concepts and ways of looking at things and taught me to see other viewpoints. Not everyone gets to go live on campus but taking different courses in a community college or local university can still give you insight into the experiences of others. This was invaluable to me and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. I’m certainly not a perfect person but the education continues. There is always more to learn!

It makes me sad that the value of education has dropped so low. Maybe a lot of these people still want to learn and just think that a four-year degree isn’t the way to go about it. I’m okay with that. But I think this survey shows a little more than that...it seems to show that knowledge is no longer a valued commodity.

This is dangerous. The successful operation of our society and our republic depends upon an educated citizenry. When education is not treated as a top priority, and is sometimes even ridiculed, we have a problem.

This can’t end well.


  1. many people think google negates having to actually learn stuff.

    sad indeed.


  2. I agree. "Education" should always be valued in whatever way, shape, or form is right for the individual.

  3. Education teaches you to think, and we do not have enough of that now...


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