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« More Dollars than Sense | Main | The Cuban Embargo needs to be lifted »
Monday
Nov082004

A new kind of affirmative action

I find it amazing that a country as prosperous as America people still have to struggle to get educated. Our colleges and Universities are the best in the world. Students come from all over the planet to be taught by the best teachers and have access to the best facilities in the world. Many of these students are state sponsored.

As we struggle to stay competitive in a global economy and our president acts on his belief that tax cuts are the great panacea to all our economic woes. We see our country shifting to a conservative philosophy where each individual needs to pull himself up by his bootstraps. I would not have a problem with that if I had been born with a sturdy set of bootstraps.

Developmental psychiatrist tell us that primary school children all have the same hopes and dreams, i.e. they want to be doctors lawyers and Indian chiefs when they grow up. However, by High School many of them lose that hope. Maybe it is because some see the dreams of others around them shattered or they hear their parents complaining about the rising cost of college tuition. No one knows exactly why but something seems to go drastically wrong and takes the wind out of their sails and their dreams are dashed on the rocks by the time they reach high school.

I read once that a corporate sponsor challenged a public primary school class by offering to send them to the school of their choice upon graduation from high school. If memory serves me over 90 percent of the class went on to college. (Anyone having this info please send it to me). Nevertheless, the answer is obvious we are spending more money on prisons each year than on colleges. Our prisons are filled with men and women who commit economic crimes, like selling drugs. I once knew a 22 year old who turned a few hundred dollars in a six-figure business meeting a payroll and fighting off tough competition. If this man had been given the right direction, he could be running a legitimate enterprise helping to drive up our GNP

There are kids out there struggling in college, not because they are not bright but because they have to hold down a job to pay for college and in many cases support themselves or their siblings. Why should a young person be penalized for the choices their parents made. I watched Laura Bush beaming with pride at the GOP convention talking about how wonderful it is now that Afghani girls are able to get formal schooling since  the Taliban which forbade them to attend school because they had the misfortune of being born female are no longer in power. but still no one in ether political party will address the fact that we penalize the young in this country for being born poor, or they picked some A**holes for parents. Too, many times, have I seen brilliant young people ether barely make it or drop out of school because life handed them onions and asked them to make lemonade.  If we as a nation would promise our kids that we would send them to any school they could be accepted into it would be, easer for them to overcome the hurdles put in their way by an accident of birth. The man or woman who could cure cancer or AIDS may be somewhere washing dishes tonight and will be too tired to stay awake in class tomorrow.

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