The Essence of Education and the Lack of Magical Realism

From my blog Raising Asperger’s Kids

Eduction is once again front and center of the recent bubble issues facing our economy. And yes, this issue is directly related to autism. Issues accessing higher education for the population in general will lead to: less teachers, less support, less therapists, less psychologists, less psychiatrists, less neurologists…well you get the picture. It’s not as if there is already a glut of people who know how to work well with and educate those on the autism spectrum. We need to increase the numbers of educators and therapists in this nation, not curtail them.

The economic forecasters are painting a big doom and gloom picture about the level of student loan debt held by recent underemployed or unemployed college graduates in this country. They discuss the disastrous effects to the economy if these college grads just up and decide not to pay their loans back. They talk about the disastrous effect and the pull on the economy because these former students use their income to pay off their student debt as opposed to buying homes, cars or other material goods. Honestly it seems that today’s students simply cannot win in the eyes of some pundits and know-it-alls. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t is truly not a beneficial way of looking at today’s young people. Oh and just for the record, this is not the first time in history we as a nation have had this discussion, albeit the amounts discussed were not so high.

As a recent law school graduate (back in the 1980s), a dearth of jobs both in the law market and in the economy in general, led to a round of naysayers and economic gloommasters who predicted the end of higher education. There was also a different generation who defaulted on their student loan debt as well. Already there had been talk how post secondary education cost too much. That a liberal arts degree was worthless. People should think twice about going to graduate school and should instead become plumbers or electricians. (As if these are career choices for those without any intellectual ability…I find it rather laughable that the elites in this world are such snobs that they fail to see that a good electrician or plumber is most probably a lot smarter than those with a PhD.)

The arguments however have completely changed. The new approach to higher education is that you are not getting your money’s worth for what it costs. Not simply that there is a poor job market. Now granted $50,000 a year for an elite private college education is ridiculous. I don’t know anyone who can avoid huge debt without some scholarship help, even if there is scholarship help. Yes there is the state school system. Guess what, they give out scholarships too. Here’s the secret…most state schools (including community colleges) are much better than these elite private colleges. It’s again the snob appeal as to what they consider to be the best schools in the nation.

If you look at some of the most successful businesspeople in the nation, you will find that they attended state schools. Even began their educational life in community colleges. However, they in turn send their children to elite private schools. But this has nothing to do with education quality but everything to do with pushing into a social level where they were never welcome in the first place. Just like these self-made millionaires need to live in once exclusive-formerly-restricted communities and belong to once just as rigidly restricted country clubs, the formerly middle class now snob elite, lost something of themselves along the way to their financial success and deride non-elite academies and individuals.

Read the rest HERE

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About Elise Ronan

Political independent, special needs advocate
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