Education Is A Right. Not A Privilege. [OPINION]
Who has heard of The Detroit Promise? In a nutshell an independent organization entitled Detroit College Promise is promising two years of tuition free community college to every Detroit high school student that graduates. You can attend a public school or a private school or even a charter school. At the end of four years if you graduate and you apply to a college or university in Michigan you are guaranteed a level of financial support. Since the programs inception over 500 Detroit highschooler’s have going on to college because of the Detroit College Promise.
In my eyes this opens up a conversation as to why we have stopped the funding for public schooling at grade 12. If you look at the history of education in our country it is constantly evolving. Kids went from the house to the farm as a worker, then they started getting basic education where everyone sat in one room regardless of age, then we started making sure kids went to school through eighth grade and finally now we guarantee you an education until high school. And just like everything else our educational standard should probably evolve forward. 50 years ago achieving a high school education was enough to put you to work in one of our countries manufacturing plants where you could earn a decent living. But more and more these days a minimum of an associates degree is required in life. In reality a four-year college degree will quickly become the new high school diploma. So as we often hear about competing in a global economy and how we need to set up our children for the brightest future to compete against the world in the workforce I can’t understand why we aren’t guaranteeing them the tools to do it. Let’s be honest, this is our future as well! Remember the song…I believe that children are the future? I don’t see why we don’t want to ensure a brighter future by allowing all highschooler’s to move on to college.
Currently the President announced plans to work on a similar program like this for the entire country, and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the only White House hopeful who guarantees four-year college in his campaigning promises.
I know the thought of free college will no doubt draw some jeers of “if you want something go pay for it “. But in all honesty, by not allowing talented minds to advance as far as they can we are paying for it in the long run by not having a properly educated workforce aka future workforce. Plus wouldn’t it be nice for the next generation to graduate without crippling college debt. I was lucky enough to have my college paid for in full but when I married AJ and I also inherited her multiple school loans. We are still by the way two years from paying hers off in full. Between federal loans, private loans and for-profit colleges we are seeing a generation of kids in so much debt that it’s unlikely they will ever be able to save for retirement. I am a firm believer of it takes a village to raise a child. And the Detroit College Promise is acting as a Village for all the children of the city. I can only hope that our entire country picks up where they leave off.