Lofty goals are admirable when backed by determination and hard work. However, when goals are merely stated without a plan to accomplish them and the will to implement said plan, such statements can be like smoke in the eyes rather than a guiding light.
President Obama has said he would like to see the United States become the most educated country in the world in the next ten years; it’s actually disheartening to a have a complex issue so over simplified.
To overcome social pressures and inertia and both small and large scale economic hurdles would take a tremendous amount of cooperation and willingness on the part of government and citizens alike, probably on a scale not seen since the efforts of the last World War.
Many students struggle to actually schedule the time to go to school. As the age of the potential college student increases, the list of familial and financial obligations lengthens. To add to this schedule the hours in class, studying and homework required for successful scholarship may be an insurmountable obstacle. As room is made for studies, the actual earning ability can often sharply decline.
The second part of why the President’s statement is more discouraging than inspiring is that funding for education, on all levels, has consistently dropped in the last thirty years. To see the government move swiftly to reverse this trend seems unlikely based mostly on its historical reluctance to increase the budget of anything other than the military and other related areas.
All this means that the onus to fund an education falls upon the student. There are options; though few are agreeable. Working a second job is a common solution to the high cost of schooling. There are grants and scholarships available to those who know how to apply for them but most often it’s impossible to earn a degree without incurring large student debts. The government may hope for an educated citizenry but without the willingness to fund the under-funded, many will simply remain working.
Promises made and broken ring hollow. Ideals betrayed can actually obscure. Without a major effort on the part of the government, getting an education may remain the domain of the exceptionally determined.
Ross Mathena, student at Riverside campus