Friday, October 07, 2011

The Real Price of Education: A Foreword

Before I get into the real costs of higher education in this current economic climate, I would like to note a what I found in my Facebook feed in reference to the recent passing of Apple creator and  CEO Steve Jobs:
"Many people didn't know that Steve Jobs was put up for adoption, imagine how different the world would be if his parents would have chosen abortion."
 Truth be told, this quote didn't even make me think of the pro-choice/pro-life debate. You see, I had just finished watching a bio on CNBC on Steve Jobs (I had no clue he'd passed until they mentioned it at the end of the program) and, Steve Jobs biological mother was a graduate student* who was adamant that her child be adopted by college graduates. (His father was a Syrian man named Abdulfattah Jandali) When Jobs was born, his pre-selected adoptive parents decided that they did want a boy and so the next in line, a working class couple was happy to have him. His mother was upset that she didn't even sign the adoption papers, it was only after his adoptive parents promise that they would make sure the kid went to college did she sign the papers.

Jobs ended up dropping out of college because as he put it--he was wasting his parents' life savings. He didn't know what he wanted to do and didn't see how college was going to help him figure it out. It was dropping out that allowed him to audit classes he was interested in and the flexibility to pursue his own passion and talents.

Instead, where would the world be if Steve jobs were raised by college graduates? Perhaps if he was raised by affluent ones who had the means to send him to college and ability to emotionally pressure him to stay in school when he found little use for it? Or less affluent ones causing him to be saddled with debt, chaining him to the perpetual pursuit of a job to make the minimum payments on his student loan?

The point here is what we most certainly believed would guarantee success---including his biological mother--- it what the sheer absence of it that allowed for his greatness. While all education is valuable, it is not always worth the money we pay for it.
Higher Education may no longer be an aid towards achieving the American dream but what rather is now keeping us from it.
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