Pictures of young Californians protesting against increasing costs of a college education are prominent in newspapers and TV today, but the problems of education are even deeper than these protests show. Not seen in the pictures are the thousands of students who haven’t a hope of going to any post-secondary school because they haven’t even finished high school. The U.S. has one of the highest drop-out rates among all developing countries. Bob Herbert’s column in today’s New York Times lays out some of the issues involved. Many of the people who will be voting to determine the next president are woefully ignorant of American history. Fewer than half of the respondents in a survey knew that the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900; many are not aware that the Bill of Rights guarantees free speech. This country was founded on the faith that educated citizenry would be able to determine the future of the country. If we fail to give people the knowledge they need, not only will they be unable to compete for jobs, they will be unfit to exercise the basic rights of citizens. The Founding Fathers were dreamers who believed individuals could choose their own future. We must honor them by providing all of our children with an education that will prepare them to make good choices and determine the future of the country and the world.
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