Expanding Public Education to College Level Essay

Submitted By bdm11480
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Pages: 7

Expanding Free Public Education to College Level America is in big trouble. Drastic changes have to be made and they have to made now. The average unemployment rate in the U.S. today stands at 7.7 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Unemployment benefits were extended to 99 weeks, yet many are exhausting these benefits going months even years without work. Foreclosure is at an all time high, leading to family breakups and homelessness. The U.S. revenue is in desperate decline so much so that the country's financial rating has dropped. The situation leaves the country unable to pay its bills and threatens the ability to acquire loans. Millions of people cannot find jobs; however, in a most shocking twist, there is a dramatically high amount of American companies who cannot find skilled workers to fill necessary jobs. On July 7, 2012, The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary) reported 2.6 million jobs went unfilled in the previous month of May (2). How can there be so many employers seeking skilled workers while there are so many Americans unemployed begging for jobs? The answer to the question is that many, if not most, of the jobs created require some type of post secondary degree to meet the skill requirements to fill these positions. The country has now been in a recession for more than five years. Companies desperately need skilled employees and the U.S. desperately needs American's to get back to work to maintain its tax revenue. The U.S. is currently in a desperate enough need of skilled workers that it should provide state run college tuition to its citizens in order to combat the economic crisis. Critics argue that free higher education for all is far too radical an idea to be considered, is it any more radical than free k-12 education? It may not be viewed by all as necessary, rather, just another entitlement however, are Americans not entitled to essential education? Many will question where the funds will come from in order to finance public college education in the country's current financial situation; however, America already has programs in place to finance higher education for the poor. The vast remaining majority is expected to be able to afford to pay for higher education themselves; the question is, can they really? Others might say that the nation should focus on fixing the problems plaguing the K-12 public school system. "How much stronger would the American economy be if the billions spent on public education actually bought our 50 million schoolchildren a high-quality education?". If the nation were to expand its free public education to include higher education, would that not equate to providing higher quality education? In order to understand why free higher public education is so important to the well being of the nation one must first look back to why the country first began to provide free education to its citizens. The very fundamentals that developed America's public educational system still hold as true today as they had at its inception. The biography Chanel reports that the reform movement that led to universal public education began in the U.S. when Representative Horace Mann of Massachusetts established the nation's first educational system (Horace Mann.biography 1). Here America's first board of education was created in 1837 with Mann elected to serve as secretary (2). Before the system was established, education was only available to those who could afford to pay for it. At that time in history Mann's ideas were considered quite radical; however today they are not only accepted, they are indisputable. Mann believed that free public education for the nation’s children was vital in ensuring that one day they were able to function properly in society as productive citizens. He developed his system around six key principles:[(1) Citizens cannot maintain both ignorance and freedom; (2) This education should be paid for,