A Fight for a No Caste System, a Fight for the American Way of Life In “The Privileges of the Parents”, Margaret Miller says, “With their sense of entitlement, more highly educated parents are more likely to fight for their children in school, and they know what privileges to fight for”. In my experience, with one parent who graduated college and one who did not, this is true. My father, who graduated from college, could easily assist us with our homework and always pushed us in school, whereas my mother, who was very caring, didn’t always give the extra drive we really needed.
We, as a society, now have to make choices and decisions in our everyday life that others used to make for us. Everything from choosing health insurance, making reservations, and it is up to us to put money away for retirement. We also have to quickly acquire new skills, jobs are moving and changing at rapid rates, with an increasing amount of knowledge required prior to being hired. Due to the latest shifts in our countries financial stability, having a college degree could make a huge difference in your salary and your children’s salary.
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According to Margaret Miller, “When it comes to the private benefits of higher education, possibly even more important is how advanced intellectual abilities help people to navigate contemporary life. ” Not only can a college degree help you earn more money, but also help pave the way for your children’s success. Miller goes on to say, “A college education has benefits that ripple down through generations”. Going to college has always been a dream of mine, a dream I thought I came up with on my own.
As I look back though, I know it was instilled in me by my father, who has always been adamant for me to go to college. My sister, on the other hand, was never pushed in school, nor was she inspired to further her education in any way. And I don’t believe she ever will and that decision to haunt her and her family’s future. In 2000, according to the U. S. Census Bureau, a person with a bachelor’s degree will earn, on average, $22,400 more per year than someone who only has their high school diploma.
We are talking about an additional $1,800 per month. The significance of these numbers is the difference of being lower middle class to possibly upper middle class. In my family, my father has always been the bread winner, not because he was the man of the house, but because he had a college degree. My father, on average, throughout his life has always made 2 to 3 times more than my mother, who didn’t graduate college. Also, according to the National
Education Longitudinal Study(NELS) 82% of students whose parents had at least a bachelor degree went straight to college, whereas only 54% of students whose parents only graduate high school, and 36% of students whose parents didn’t graduate high school. These are staggering numbers considering we are a society that gives great importance to our system of high education. Miller describes it as “becoming as caste- bound a society as any in the Old World”. We, as a society, need to realize what direction our country is going and make it an easier transition, for children of less educated parents, into college.
We also need to focus on our success and graduation rate. It’s not only about getting them to college, but seeing their goals all the way through . From USA Today, Mary Beth Marklein writes, “Nationally, four-year colleges graduated an average of just 53% of entering students within six years”. What exactly does that say about our colleges and universities and their systems. To ensure the success of first generation students, “many of higher education’s lived values will be turned on their heads”, said Miller.
Colleges need to maintain affordable prices, remember these students probably aren’t coming from wealthy families. Also, it’s important to not only look for the bright students to bring to the college but also the students with drive and determination. We need to want for these students to graduate as much as we would want our own. The value of a college education has almost become immeasurable. Not only should you consider it for your future but for your children’s. Having a degree doesn’t guarantee high salary and better jobs, but the possibilities are endless.
The NELS goes on to say that parental education only plays one role in student enrollment in college, “family income, educational expectations, academic preparation, parental involvement, and peer influence also independently affected graduates’ likelihood of enrolling in a 4-year institution”. Higher education is more valuable now than ever. With our economic downturn, having a college degree can be the difference of whether or not you can provide your family’s needs now and forever.
What we must do as parents, students, and society is teach our children to do as we do not do as we say by setting the right example, the numbers don’t lie. It has to be a community effort, personal effort, and entire effort of the nation. We have to make going to post secondary schooling a priority to our future generations, by making it a priority to ourselves. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Bulletin 2800. Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2006.
Lewin, Tamar. “Once a Leader, U. S. Lags in College Degrees. ” Editorial. New York Times. 23 July. 2010. Marklein, Mary Beth. “4- Year Colleges Graduate 53% in 6 Years. ” Editiorial. USA Today. 3 June. 2009. Miller, Margaret A. “The Privileges of the Parents. ” Editorial. Change February. 2008: Print. U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Students Whose Parents Did Not Go to College: Postsecondary Access, Persistence, and Attainment, NCES 2001???126, by Susan Choy. Washington, DC: 2001.