What exactly does it mean to call ourselves educated?
I’ve been sitting in Masters and Doctoral classes for the past few months and I work with a number of staff members who have those degrees. In my world, it seems like everyone has or is working on those. This means I have to rethink what education means quite often.
In my world, everyone has this stress on the importance of education. I personally place a great deal of importance on education and hope to take my own a very long way.
However, it is also important to remember a few things. First is that my world is not representative of the entire world or even of the US…only about 3% of the US population hold a doctorate and only about 8% a Master’s. That makes me an incredibly privileged individual to even have that opportunity.
Then there is the claim that everyone has that chance to gain those degrees and opportunities. If that was true, I personally feel there would be a greater diversity in the background of individuals seeking to attain that education. We place such a huge burden of cost on gaining education which is linked to social mobility. The US does not rank well with economic (aka social) mobility. Yet people continue to claim the greatness of the US. Do not get me wrong, I appreciate my country and all it has done for me, but I am also ashamed of its downfalls. We have this huge debate about healthcare, but almost everyone who has reviewed it from the World Health Organization in 2000 who ranks the US 37th, Bloomberg who ranks the US at 46, or the OECD who ranks the US last among 7 industrialized countries. Then there is education…Take whichever measure you want and the US does not rank very well…including College Graduate Debt. Some of these articles or commentators state it well: We think we can be the best by virtue of being American rather than by actually working for it.
Education is important, health is important, and the future is important. I am honored to be one of the few to have the chance to attend college, let alone pursue a graduate degree. It will not be enough, however, till everyone truly has that opportunity.