By MONA OSMER
“Education is the basis of law and order.” This is a quote that first appeared in the 1962 film, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence,” and it has taken 53 years to sink in.
President Barack Obama’s plans to expand the availability of both basic level and higher education have recently sparked conversation on the age-old idea of equal education.
Obama’s education reform includes both the expansion of preschool education and community college. His “free community college proposal” alone would cost $60 billion over the course of 10 years, a White House spokesman stated. In addition, states that adopt this proposal will have to pay for one-quarter of the tuition subsidy, according to Time.
In the “Preschool for All” reform, Obama is highlighting a greater priority at a higher price: basic education at zero cost for the public. For a whopping $76 billion, over the course of ten years, preschool education could be widely available to every citizen of the United States.
As a current college student I understand the need for free college all too well. I have seen many of my high school peers pass up the opportunity of college solely because of insufficient funding.
However, working from the ground up and providing a gateway of learning such as preschool would be a step in the right direction, and something the U.S. should push toward achieving.
With Congress filled by a Republican majority and the bill concerning a significant increase in taxes, it is highly improbable that these education reform proposals will gain traction. The three-word phrase, “…will increase taxes,” is regarded with a severity of sensitivity.
It is highly unfortunate, as our beloved individualistic country is trying so hard to become a welfare state. However, it is imperative to keep in mind that nothing is free. Equal availability of basic goods and services means more money, and more money means more taxes.
But why does this scare the working classes as well as politicians?
Think of it this way: it is not so much the fault of the working class as it is of the society that Americans live in and the capitalistic nature of many politicians.
Multiple psychological studies, such as those by Professors Sing Lau and Patricia P.W. Yeung who compared Chinese and American language, argue that American’s language and society is just too self absorbed. We motivate ourselves intrinsically, based on positive incentives.
We live in a world fueled by dollar signs; therefore if college were free, along with preschool education, those dollar signs would be falling out of the pockets of millions.
Politicians would then lose their constituents, more commonly known as their voter safety net. For if we were to give the public free community college and preschool, voters would not stop asking for more.
For those critics of Obama’s proposal on free college that say the program would give education to those who did not work for it, read the fine print. The proposal states that a student must attain a grade point average higher than a 2.5, become a full time student and work toward achieving a degree in order to qualify for free community college.
Allowing every person in the United States education would have an immensely positive effect on our society, but it is the price and inability to move forward away from selfish tendencies that roadblocks American culture and intellectual growth.