By Hipolito Navarrete, Managing Editor/Publisher
As the cost of higher education is used by this administration to create a larger gap between the poor and the wealthy, and by poor now we include the middle class, a high school diploma is much more relevant and important than ever. It should not just signify that the individual was persistent, it must also mean they are qualified, not for just entry level jobs at the local burger joint, but to think critically, have, at least, the basic technical skills for a career in media, science or any other place that can use a young entrepreneurial mind. It is critical that our youth graduating from high schools, public or private, have the type of skills that will help them take care of themselves and the families they may create immediately, so the road must start well before they enter high school. Higher education will probably always be available, but the question is to whom and at what price?
Money has always been the excuse politicians use to abandon their constituents need of the tools they use to provide for better options for their constituents. Education is not common sense, it is a complex set of skill sets applied to prepare our youth to understand and maneuver through their life or their world, confidence, skill, determination, empathy, etc. Most folks never step foot into a classroom once they graduate so they don’t have a faint idea of the challenges teachers, administrators and the children and their families face as they maneuver through the mines thrown at them by the media and politicians who want to focus on the “failed” system, yet one that has been the backbone of a civilization that has been continuing to move to a more inclusive and better society, regardless of what regressives and the white supremacists are trying to accomplish.
Many wealthy families are conspiring with powerful politicians, as they always have when they feel the opportunity is there, to destroy the post-secondary educational opportunities that provide a bridge to a world many poor youth, and especially youth of color, will never experience otherwise. Education is the greatest equalizer, but not just a high school diploma, a college education is necessary to not only enter a professional environment at the lowest of all ranks in many of the most important corporations in which decisions are made that affect all of us. If you want to be a teacher, you must have a college degree, or if a vocational teacher is in your horizon, you must have 3-5 years experience in the vocation you want to teach. If you want to have a career as a lawyer or if you want to be part of the decision making in a Hollywood talent agency, you must generally start at a mail room position and generally have an ivy league degree. Yes, there are always exceptions, but we are looking at the normal structure designed for opportunities in careers in established companies. A college degree is the opportunity that is being challenged by those that have already become successful, so that others that don’t have it, have less opportunity to access a professional world dominated by the well-educated, not the most wordly. The moniker “School of Hard Knocks” is foolish and misguided, and we need to make sure that our children not only have the “School of Life” necessary to survive in this world, but the educational exposure to thrive in it.
We must continue to fight for the right of access to affordable or free higher education, but must also support the efforts to create development opportunities for students through their K-12 degree and support the work being done at the high school level because the fight to access opportunities afforded to the wealthy, will continue to be a fight, and we must be fully engaged.