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Evan Moskal Carrie Sippy English 1102-014 30 March 2012

Education: A Collaboration of facts, Opinions, and Truths

Availability is arguably an obstacle when it comes to education, however, affordability is a much more apparent issue. The two are twisted together though arent they? It seems like the more money a person has the better chance they have at higher, better education. The role money plays in schools and education of all levels is becoming increasingly prevalent. Public schools remain free to taxpayers while families can also choose to send their children to private schools for a variety of reasons as well. Some argue that the tightly wound and tangled relationship between money and education is a good thing and encourages competition and with that competition, drive. Others suggest that measures need to be taken now to solidify free education for our worlds adults of tomorrow, especially with average family income only at $65,000 a year (Denavas-Walt). Who is right? Is anyone right? Is it fair to charge American families for the best education that are available, free or not? The age-old issue is still relevant and as controversial as ever in todays society. In America today, the education system is undoubtedly divided. Different groups would argue which division, specifically, is more important, but when it comes to monetary differences the words public and private come to mind. Better education

not only meant higher-quality traditional schooling, but also different types of schoolingmore or less structured, more or less emphasis on one subject or another, and so forth (Benveniste 5). This is the modern stereotype of private education. It is important to note that this quote is from a summary of an essay written in the mid 1950s. This suggests to me that the idea of a division not only between money in education, but also in quality of education has been apparent for some time. Being that I attended a private high school, I can both support and argue this quote. The humanities classes at my high school in Tennessee were taught around a harkness table where each person sitting could see every other peer around the table, including the teacher. Our teachers acted as moderators at times during discussion, but for the majority of discussions they were effectively just another one of our peers. We as students were able to build comfortable relationships not to where we had to completely raise our maturity level or the teacher completely submerge their own, but instead met in the middle. It worked beautifully. The privilege we had of taking advantage of this experimental learning and teaching style is credited to the fact that the school is privately funded and can make its own decisions and judgment calls both through the administration as well as the students. Many public schools do not get that kind of opportunity. That being said, I have been able to observe and interact with both brilliant teachers as well as brilliant students. However, in terms of our math science department, we really struggled. We had a trimester system with our math and science departments that butted heads with our more effective humanities department, and for that reason I definitely felt unprepared in the math realm which is crucial to my choice of major in college: Engineering.

There are claims circulating both supporting and refuting the stereotype, but ultimately the writers of the book All Else Equal: Are public and Private Schools Different? Did their best to present the facts, and I support their thoughts and position on the issue. They believe, with several studies, tedious research, and personal findings, that there is evidence supporting both main ideas, but that because of that no one conclusion can be drawn about which one is better. I agree with the book entirely. The neutral approach to the issue seems to be the only one that gives all of the information. The real fact of the matter is, private school does not guarantee you a better education than a public school, but it does offer selectivity. Public school does not guarantee that you will be entirely motivated to do all of your schoolwork, but it is free. The decade after decade battle between public and private at the surface is a poplar topic in educational institutions as well as with the general public. The details are the roots of the controversy, and are burrowed so deep into the ground that no one has really been able to pull them all the way out to replant the education system in a new, more controllable environment. One of those details that is less revealed involves the relationships between entitlement and motivation. Susan Adams, a columnist for Forbes.com, suggests that paying for a childs education gives them a skewed perspective on the world and clouds the reality of how fortunate they really are: it turns out that students whose educational costs are paid for entirely by their parents, engage in more leisure activities. In other words, they party instead of study. Most students dont party so hard that they flunk out of college, but they do damage to their academic performance (Adams 1). She would blatantly refute the findings in All else equal She would say that

public schools offer more of a motivation for a better life. This is a curious genre within talk about education. A survey I conducted highlights the issues of motivation, entitlement, and success within academic settings. First off, it is important to disclaim that this survey was only taken by 18 people, which can be difficult to draw conclusions from. It does, however, show somewhat of a correlation between High Income, Private Schooling, college readiness and performance. Those who chose average income show very little trending in all directions excluding the obvious ones such as if they felt prepared for college, they generally perceived themselves as doing well in college. There is a relationship between high income, and private schools with college readiness. Of the 6 students who answered that they are of high income and good financial stability not a single one answered that they did not feel prepared for college, and also of those 6 students the majority said that UNCC was their first choice for college. Additionally, both of the students that said they attended a private high school, both answered that their college performance was a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. These results do suggest that higher income and private schooling promote success in college settings. I am not saying that Susan is necessarily completely wrong, but to solely say that spending money on your childs education promotes eminent failure is simply ridiculous. The other end of her argument I can also conditionally support. In saying that paying for a childs education condemns them to entitlement and arrogance she is suggesting that a less obtrusive and less financially supportive approach to a childs education can give them motivation to do well. You hear of plenty rags to riches cases of kids who come from nothing and work hard, perceiver, and surpass their wildest goals all due to that passion for a better lie. A passion that only

someone coming from hardship or less financial support could muster. I think that hardship in some cases that can definitely be one of those relentless drives that fuels a student to succeed (Adams 1). However those harsher financial characteristics can also go hand in hand with harsher more tempting environments that swallow tons of misguided students every single year. Susan is right, but Susan is wrong. Its entirely circumstantial. Free education would solve it right? All teachers of all education levels and skill are equally distributed into one education system that is available to all without any private funding. That seems pretty ideal doesnt it? Im not so sure. Gary Matkin, Dean of Continuing Education at University of California Irvine, suggests it is entirely possible. He uses the University of the people as a selling point for how successful a free tuition based college can exist (Matkin 133). However Richard Rothstien, the rest of the authors of All Else Equal, and myself would argue that if the University of the people is so successful and innovative, why isnt it thriving. I unfortunately have to question this utopian idea, because I am not entirely convinced that todays society and job market would support and hire someone from such an institution. I have personally never heard of it, and I am certain I am not the only one. Credibility definitely comes into play. I think everyone would love to see a world where education is free, but because of the way education is now, and how deep the roots are, straying from current ways that drastically will ultimately cause a total collapse. There is a University in New York City called Cooper Union that only admits undergraduate students on a full scholarship basis, so in other words it is a tuition free undergraduate program. This is an extremely selective and highly accredited college nationally and globally. Here is the kicker. The school has been

privately funded since its establishment, and is currently in the midst of declaring bankruptcy. There has been talk of it being absorbed by other universities or even starting to charge tuition, but this is hard proof that those types of colleges cannot survive in modern society. I would love to see the day where that can exist, but for it to exist today other things that cannot be sacrificed would have to be. Gary Matkin is on the right track though. I do think that some professionals would suggest that we as a nation to stray from the current education system. They would advertise that reconstruction must happen because of how far behind the United States is in education in the world. I am not confirming or denying any of those claims, however a complete transition to a new education system immediately is not only impractical, but its impossible. It is undeniable that the current education system has holes. In some areas, it has craters. However, reform of or current structure is the key to long-term success. Public and private schools are not going anywhere. All of my sources would at least support that claim, at least for the time being. Even Gary Matkin, who is entirely for free education, knows that the transition must be subtle and long term to create a better education system. The surrounding issue is that no one knows how to take those baby steps. I wish I could finish this essay with a completely drawn out plan to reform the United States education system flawlessly, but thats impractical. I will claim this. I think that awareness is the first step. Being conscious of the way education currently works and understanding and analyzing its flaws is something that every American should do. This research I have done has made me aware. Are you? The point is that we as a society, nationally and within the global community, need to realize that education isnt perfect, but that does not mean that we are failing. The idea of entitlement that I mentioned earlier

really hits home on that idea. We as Americans are so incredibly privileged and the fact that we even live in a nation where we can work hard for an education and completely, independently support our own families however we legally see fit, and that generally speaking one person has the same chance as the next really makes it a pretty awesome place to live. We as a nation can sometimes be that private school kid who does not take advantage of the opportunity we have been given and run with it. Education does need to be reformed in some aspects, but it isnt completely terrible in the least. We need to be grateful for the opportunities we have been given at birth, and we need to be motivated to attain those that we were not given but truly and desperately desire. We need to be aware of others, but not entirely comparative. Everyones situation is different, and you have to run with what youve got. If your parents provide you with the financial stability you are using to pursue your academic and professional goals, thank them; if they dont support you then give yourself credit for the accomplishments that you achieve on your own. Be aware. I am. Are you?...

Works Cited: Adams, Susan. Want your Kids to Succeed? Dont pay for their education. Forbes. Forbes.com LLC, 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. Benveniste, Luis, Martin Carnoy, and Richard Rothestein. All Else Equal: Are Public and Private Schools Different. New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003. Print. DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011. Census.gov. 2011: 6-17. United States Census Bureau. PDF file. 12 Mar. 2013. Matkin, Gary W. Meeting the Challenege of Free Education: How to Make Money When the Competition is Giving it Away. Continuing Higher Education Review Fall 2011: 130-37. ERIC. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. Moskal, Evan. Evan Moskals Survey. Survey. 21 Mar 2013. Public vs. Private Schools. The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 19 Jul. 2006. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.