“Education Matters and Public Policies Against Educating Poor American Families Hurt Them and Hurt the Future of this Country”
Today in the middle of class lecture as we were discussing some of the major themes (i.e. reason vs faith, education, the intellectual life) in James Baldwin’s novel, “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” I took a short pause from that to teach my students about the implications of the message of this novel to their personal and public life, and the impact of Baldwin’s ideas on the civil and political societies.
I turned to them and looked at the class intently, and declared: “Every area of our lives engages the political life; whether we want to acknowledge it or not, conscious or unconscious about it, life is about making political decisions.”
I made that statement in class so that my students could reflect critically about the value of education that is promoted in the novel by the major character John when he uses reason and his intellect to balance the seemingly tension between faith and reason. Arguably, the point I wanted to convey to this group of young men and women (the oldest one in the classroom is in her late 30s, the rest of them are between 16 to 21 yrs old) was this, in the form of a question I asked them: “Where in the world would you pay $ 100.00 per credit hr and $ 300.00 for a 3 credit hour course and graduate with a 2 or 4 yr degree without having to take a dime in student loans?”
“The fact that most of you (about 75% of our students receive financial aids and do not pay to attend #IRSC) are attending college here for free.” (I would also argue that colleges in this country should be free to all students; no one shouldn’t have to pay to go to college if your parents make less than $100,000 annually; the median salary for the middle class Americans is under $ 75,000). Further, I also stated in class, “This is a political decision you made when you pay taxes and vote people to occupy the public office. You may not realize it, but it is the true.”
It is only at #IRSC, one of the most affordable 4 yr state colleges in the nation ( I believe we are listed as # 3 in a recent survey on U.S. National Colleges), I told them that you are receiving a quality of education without getting into debt. My underlying thesis was this: “Stay in School. Get an education. Don’t be lazy. Work Hard. Stop procrastinating.Study for your classes. Have a disciplined mind. Graduate, leave #IRSC campus, and Get a Life!”
***Notably, the majority of our student population at Indian River State College come from economically-disadvantaged and poor families, where some of their parents work two jobs and a sizeable number of our students must work also to afford the basic needs of life and help their parents with the bills while going to school–taking a full load every semester.
As a result, we middle class American families and American educators should get angry about the recent proposal from the Trump administration against educating the poor and underserved American families and population:
“The Trump administration is looking to decrease the Education Department’s funding by $7.1 billion compared to what it was given last year, as part of next year’s proposed budget.The budget proposal suggests eliminating 29 programs, including after-school and summer programs for students in high-poverty areas, among other things.”
Click on the link below for more information:
What will poor American families do? How will the economically-disavantaged students and families survive when the government is going to cut assistance for education?
If a country is not investing in educating its citizens, especially the economically-disavantaged group, it is in fact heightening the already existing inequality gap between the poor and the rich. This country is making its way to further economic decline and moral bankruptcy.