Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER: Higher education not for all

I would like to take a closer look at Matt Goyette’s so-called ‘humble disagreement’ with The Daily Free Press. In his letter (‘Education would benefit all,’ Feb. 26), Goyette ‘humbly’ claims that The Free Press has shown unacceptable ‘disdain for education and self-righteous opinions of low skilled labor.’ This is a serious accusation. So, what does Goyette point to as evidence of such inexcusable behavior? Essentially, he challenges the claim of The Free Press that ‘[t]he truth is that college is not for everyone’ (‘STAFF EDIT: Economic lessons,’ Feb. 25). Goyette believes that this statement diminishes the importance of higher learning. He states, ‘To suggest that Americans . . . should not take every opportunity for furthering their education and skill sets is appalling.’ Surely, if The Free Press does assert that Americans should not take advantage of education and job training opportunities, then Goyette has a legitimate concern.

However, I do not believe that The Free Press attempts to show any form of ‘disdain for education,’ nor do I believe that The Free Press displays a condescending opinion about unskilled labor. There is another issue at the heart of this debate. It is an issue of balancing idealism and pragmatism. There is no question that, as Goyette states, ‘some form of education will benefit you’ regardless of career path. On the other hand, there is no doubt that higher education is not for all people. I think this is the reality that The Free Press meant to address in its staff editorial. On one hand, we have the ideal: higher education for all, and, on the other, the practical: not all are capable of attaining a higher education. This is the only substantial argument of this debate. Then, the question becomes how we address this situation. How do we ensure that all Americans have a fair shot at succeeding in life?

Affordable education is a large part of the answer. As The Free Press points out, ‘[m]aking college more affordable by providing incentives for volunteerism is a giant step in the right direction.’ However, what Goyette fails to see and what The Free Press rightly questions, is the issue of stability for unskilled jobs. Goyette argues that ‘these are the jobs most easily shipped overseas.’ Undoubtedly, he is right. Though, there is a problem with this statement, is there not? The Free Press was quite right to point out that President Barack Obama’s plan for increased educational opportunity is not the only solution to our economic problems. There needs to be greater commitment from policy makers and Obama to ensure that not all of our unskilled, or skilled for that matter, jobs are shipped overseas. Working- class and lower-middle-class Americans ought to have the chance to educate themselves. But, they also ought to have the chance to earn a living even if they happened to not attend Boston University for four years. There have always been a variety of means by which Americans have improved their conditions. Education may be the best way to better oneself, but it is not the only way.’

Michael Tivey

CAS ’12

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