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Help Save the Youth of America

September 14, 2010

There’s a big problem in America right now that is being ignored by the majority of those who aren’t in the midst of it, and like so many other problems in America, much of it has to do with money and deceit. The problem in question is the fallacy of college.

Today, a college degree won’t earn you a guaranteed position at McDonald’s, let alone a job that pays above minimum wage  – yet most places require one to even be considered as an applicant. So let’s go back to the roots of what earning a college degree entails.

From the start, college as an idea is based on classist assumptions. Society expects that, from birth, one’s parents will contribute money to a college fund, which is hard enough on two middle-class parents, let alone a minimum-wage-earning single mother trying to go to school herself – especially one of color who would be given less job opportunities in the first place.

If one does not have a pre-established college fund (and, in most cases, even if one does), loans are needed, and the loan industry is perpetually hungry for new blood to take advantage of. Of course, the “ideal” situation would be if one could get a job while in college – but with the requirement of having a college degree to apply to a multitude of places, this is a near impossibility for many people, not to mention that with the high cost of college even a well-paying job is not enough.

Now, the government is to blame in terms of the high cost of base college funds – but many professors are guilty themselves when it comes to the classism spread throughout every aspect of college. In most subjects, requiring new books that often cost over $100 should be considered completely unacceptable. Why did these people, who seem to be the majority of professors, even become teachers? Clearly they aren’t concerned with the well-being of the students in question if they’re pulling this bullshit. No one should have to pay hundreds of dollars every semester – even at community college – just for the basic textbooks, each of which only around 10% will actually be used. How do these professors justify it to themselves? I can’t value any “wisdom” these people have to impart if they’re going to engage in blatant classism in the process.

In analyzing the substance of the majority of classes that are required, another societal obstacle is present. Math and science are requirements, but not women’s  studies? Who came up with these requirements and why aren’t supposed liberals questioning them? We should be teaching each and every person we can about white privilege and how to combat it, about respecting and fighting for trans rights, about questioning heteronormativity… yet we’re making people sit through statistics/biology, which they will never, ever use unless that is their career direction (in which case they would be taking those classes regardless), when we could be using education as a useful tool that would improve the quality of so many peoples’ lives.

College: a future of crippling debt for a piece of paper that won’t even guarantee you a job to pay it off with.

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