Several of our good friends are set to move daughters and sons to college campuses very soon. I almost fell out of my chair when I learned the expected costs for the first year of college at an in-state university. Perhaps hearing those costs prepared me for the price tag that goes with the first year out-of-state tuition.
I remember how overwhelming college loans seemed when I was paying them back, but mine were a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of debt that these young men and women and their parents are going to take on to ensure they receive the education that will prepare them for the next phase of their lives.
It’s not only a college education that costs money. Education is a significant line item in the state and federal budget. (I have plenty of concerns about the role of government in education, but that’s an opinion for another day.)
If you think education is expensive, take a moment to consider the cost of ignorance.
Have you ever been at a fast food restaurant when the little girl behind the counter accidentally closed the register drawer before counting out your change? I’m not suggesting that all young women working part-time jobs at fast food restaurants, convenience stores or any other place of business, are not smart enough to subtract the price of a hamburger meal from a twenty-dollar bill, but I’ve been seen the lost look on a young clerk’s face more times than I care to admit.
How can a person with limited math skills work in retail? How can they figure feed rations for livestock or how to calculate herbicide rates and calibrate sprayers? You and I and the future workforce in this country, do not have an “easy” button to push.
Not everyone is going to be a rocket scientist or neurosurgeon. There will be sheet metal workers, welders, cabinet builders and auto mechanics. There will be farmers and ranchers. Every one of them will need some math skills. They will benefit from science and business economics.
Let’s go out on a limb and believe that some of these young people may actually want to open their own welding businesses or tire shops. They will need to know how to fill out profit and loss statements, loan and insurance applications, and maintain tax records.
By the time those young people graduate from high school, it is my hope that they have at least a basic understanding of the Constitution of the United States of America. There has never been a time in this country’s history when there has been a greater need for citizens to understand the premise upon which our country was built.
I hope they know The First Amendment was written to protect and empower them:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.