I'm Not So Sure Everyone Is Worth A Good Education
I taught for a few years, and I loved it. I even loved working with the kids who did not want to be there, and there were plenty.
It caused me to change the way that I think about universal education.
If you live in a fat country, like mine, you may come to see school as some sort of holding cell for the not yet of age instead of a place to gather knowledge and, in some ways, prepare for adulthood. This is certainly the image that has been propagated for the last forty years by many people in many forms of media.
Once something is considered a universal right, it easily becomes a universal doormat. And, K-12 education in the United States is largely a very expensive doormat.
So take it away. What I saw leads me to believe that the kids I saw graduating high school were no better prepared for adult and work life at eighteen than they were at fourteen. Cut them loose after eighth grade. Those who see the value of further education should be able to opt in for high school -- with serious written commitment, so no one is wasting their time with people who are not serious. Yes, I know children can not be held accountable if they sign a contract, but their parents who sign with them can be.
The level of competency that I saw in most of the children leaving for college was not adequate to make the grade in even the easiest institutions, and those children were not able to even obtain associate's degrees.
The idea that tax payers should be on the hook to propel so many of such limited ability through university is beyond me. I think advanced education is one fo the more important ticket punches a person can get, but if it becomes universal, it will become nearly universally worthless.
In the meantime, before that disaster happens, there are lots of ways to pay for university work, and those who show promise can usually get what they need. They may not be able to pay for Brown for undergrad, but do they really need to? Outside of truly technical fields, the people I have seen who have contributed the most value to organizations have come from mid-level universities. You know, they ones where most of the students work to get through.