Will Durant, an American writer and philosopher, once said, “Education is the transmission of civilization.” Meaning, education is the key idea in which our society is continuing to grow and develop. The value of education has changed from present day compared to 50 years back or even 100 years. Present day it is sculpted in children heads to get a college education compared to hearing your grandparents stories of having to go to work at a young age. Education is privilege. The value of knowledge has grown and evolved into something so essential than in the past as people could drop out of school to get a job to put money on the table. Nowadays, if you don’t have a high school diploma or a degree, your chances of having a stable and well paying job are smaller than to those that have that title. Although people can make money without an education, it depends on the individual. Learning the past of education can make us value the education we have access to today.
Let’s think 100 years back, there was not enough time for schooling. People had other priorities, like supporting their families that were thought to believe to be more important than school. The motto was just to provide for your family, so education didn’t seem as important. People needed money then. For example, my grandma and her siblings had to drop out of school at the 6th grade because her parents were deep into poverty and lacked money. They lived in a small house in Tijuana that “fit” 14 people. With that many people to provide for, they had to sacrifice going to school and go to work instead. My grandma’s family was not the only one that experienced the unfortunate events of not attending school: “In 1880 the Elementary Education Act made school compulsory for every child aged between five and ten, with the leaving age rising to 12 in 1899.” (How It Works Team).
Even though there were those that couldn’t go to school, there were some that weren’t taught the fundamentals. For those who went to school, some of the schools didn’t teach them those fundamentals like math, English, and history. “Some schools even had their own cadet force to prepare the boys for careers as army officers. Meanwhile, public schools for girls trained them to become well-to-do wives and while the boys played rugby, their sisters would focus on how to be the perfect hostess” ( How It Works Team). School wasn’t about learning, it was for students to fit the modeled society. Education wasn’t praised, and value compared to how it is now. If schools were preparing girls just to be wives, a lot of feminists would be against this. What we expect to get from education and schooling isn’t what they were trying to teach young girls and boys in the past.
Throughout the 60 years, there was a spark. We saw more colored people going to school. Women began to have a step towards their future in education as well. People realized that education was essential. Little by little education started to become more important. The more people who were accessed to education meant the more people that started graduating high school and excelling to college. My parents were able to get a job after high school easily even though they didn’t have a college education. My dad has been working as a truck driver for Calmet Waste Industries for over 20 years because he was lucky that having a high school diploma was all that was needed. In an article I found it states, “During the past 50 years, the expansion of education has contributed to a fundamental transformation of societies in OECD (Organizations for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. In 1961, higher education was the privilege of the few, and even upper secondary education was denied to the majority of young people in many countries.” (Coulombe). Even though schooling was more common, advancing your education wasn’t. Those who went to college were mainly the ones that could afford it. Minorities were not as fortunate because money was a big factor. My mom was smart and wanted to go to college, but since she had many siblings, she couldn’t go. The set back that threw people off was the idea to go to college and live with debt or just find a job and have quick money now.
Education was growing and evolving to be important, but it didn’t play a big part in society until the present day. Nowadays, students are constantly being told about how we will not have a successful life if we don’t focus on our education. Teachers pressure students to graduate and go to college because that will make us successful since it is a step forward to a lifelong career.
I always thought that was a lie. I believed that I would be able to find a job after high school because my parents were able to do that in their time. However, times have changed. For example, from the CNN News it states, “More than two thousand hiring managers participated in the survey. Among those who had changed their education requirements, 56 percent said they saw higher quality work from college grads. Forty-one percent reported better communication. Nineteen percent said they actually saw more revenue coming in as a result of hiring college educated workers” (Aliah Git). The higher education, the more money you get in the long run. For some jobs, “The rise in educational requirements extended beyond just associate and bachelor’s degrees. Some employers said that in positions where they used to hire candidates with bachelor’s degrees, they are now primarily hiring people who hold a master’s degree.” (Aliah Git). How are people going to live in this world without an education? We value education way more now than ever. Aliah Git also stated, “Education doesn’t just provide you with the chance to earn a higher salary or find a job more easily. It can also provide social benefits. According to The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), higher education correlates with lower crime rates, higher voter participation and an increase in volunteer work. The IHEP also stated that having a higher education could increase life expectancy, lead to better health, and increase the overall quality of life. It’s not the higher salaries that make education meaningful, there is so much more. We have more motivation than ever to gain a higher education. After all the advice teachers have been pushing on students, it is time to realize, we will never achieve our dreams without education.
Even though not everyone had the same opportunities when it came to education, we should still appreciate the outcome that comes with it. In an article, Research in Higher Education, it states, “While American society expresses an overall appreciation for the usefulness of education (particularly during and immediately following times of economic strife) and believes due support should be provided to the educational system, society simultaneously tends to associate different worth through the assistance it provides to the individual tiers and different needs within the system; and the amount of this attributable “worth” is an extraordinarily debatable topic” (Toutkoushian). The more we can get out of education, then the more we see the importance. No matter what there is always going to one who doesn’t care, but now there is much more to care about this topic. Appreciating the education that not everyone was fortunate enough with the chance to learn. Learning the background of education can make the education we have more valuable to us.
Bankston, I. L. (2011). The mass production of credentials: Subsidies and the rise of the higher education industry. Independent Review, 15(3), 325-349.
Coulombe, S., J.F. Tremblay and S. Marchand (2004), Literacy Scores, Human Capital and Growth across Fourteen OECD Countries, Statistics Canada, 2004.
Git, Aliah. “High School Diploma Not Enough? More Companies Want College Grads.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.
Team, How It Works. “What Was School like 100 Years Ago?” How It Works Magazine. Imagine Publishing, 26 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.
Toutkoushian, R., & Shafiq, M. M. (2010). A conceptual analysis of state support for higher education: Appropriations versus need-based financial aid. Research in Higher Education, 51(1), 40-64. doi: 10.1007/s11162-09-9148-5
“What Is the Value of Education in the U.S.?” What Is the Value of Education in the U.S.?N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.