The world is becoming increasingly polarized and there seems to be few things that most people can agree on, regardless of political affiliation. One of the few subjects that bring all people together is the desire to improve education for our children. But, even when it comes to education, there are competing ideas and polarizing visions of the ideal education system. However, according to some experts, there are some things that all parties can agree on when it comes to education.
- We need to emphasize the VALUE of education.
A college education isn’t just a nice thing to have. Having an education versus not having one can be the difference between access to enormous opportunities and can lead to vastly different outcomes in life. Yes, an educated population is better able to engage with the system, but in practical terms, educated people make more money, have better access to healthcare, and are in a position to contribute to their communities in much more tangible and significant ways.
- Universities need to be publicly accountable.
We all want to know how the schools our children attend stack up against other schools in the area. That is as true for local public schools as it is for publicly funded colleges and universities. One thing that everybody can agree on is the need for access to data on student outcomes. What percentage of freshmen will eventually graduate? How many of them will ultimately default on their student loans? Making this information available to the public allows us to make fully informed decisions about which university to attend.
- Revise the admissions process.
The majority of people simply don’t think that if your grandfather donated a library, you are any more deserving of a place at that university than anybody else. With the recent admissions scandals that have rocked the Ivy League, people are paying closer attention to the way candidates are sorted and the role a student’s connections can have on the admission’s decision. We may not all agree on the way to address this problem, but it’s clear that we all want a more just, fair, and equitable admission’s process.
Differing viewpoints and the ability to find workable solutions are what make any society great. If we can agree on the problem, there just might be hope for us yet.