It seems every day we in America, and the entire Western world, are discovering all these amazing new “rights” we have. Food, housing, clothing, a job at a “living wage”, health care, and of course an education. It is to the latter this is addressed.
Sounds lovely on the surface. Everyone has the right to be educated. And indeed you can’t have a successful democracy and/or a thriving economy without an educated population. But the Devil is in the details as he usually is.
To what level an “education” is the right?
Trade or vocational school?
If you have the “right” to an education does that include the “right” to attend whatever school you want?
So if we say that the right to an education includes through a 4-year college does that mean everyone has the right to attend Harvard or Yale or Princeton or MIT?
What about admission requirements like grades and SAT scores? (as much as those are bogus indicators) If you don’t make the scores the school wants has the school violated your rights?
Does the school have any say in who attends? Or is that now discrimination?
After World War 2 the U.S. military GI Bill paid a very generous schooling allowance: Veterans received 1 year of full tuition for every 6 months of military service they completed. In terms of a college program that meant the government would pay for a 4-year degree course after 2 years of military service. Not too shabby! The veteran had to apply to the school and get in. No guarantees there. But if they did the government picked up the bill.
Will similar be the same now if education is a “right”?
Once you’re into a school, can you ever be dismissed? In other words, what if you fail the courses and school wants to expel you from the program – is that now violating your rights?
Not every student will be a Calculus master or a Shakespearean writer. If someone doesn’t learn the subject material, at least enough to squeak by passing, who’s at fault? The school? The teacher? “Society”? (as usual) Was the student’s rights violated?
Or what if you just don’t show up to many class? Don’t do the home work and term projects and now fail the class? They didn’t educate you as evidenced by not passing the class so have your “rights” been violated? Why not?
And does your “right” to an education also include the necessity of being provided with text books for the courses?
Note paper and pens?
A bag to carry all your school supplies?
Transportation to/from school?
A wake up call to make sure you’re up in time for class?
This gets very silly very fast! But that’s what happens when “rights” are created out of the ether because it sounds oh sooooo good and noble.
At some point very very soon (if not already happening) the decision has to be made, as a collective society, where the line is between what society can provide you and what you must do for yourself. You can send a person to a brand new school building filled with the latest computers and technical gear and staffed by al PhD’s in their field, but, if the person just sits there in a daze and does apply themselves to the material, doesn’t do the assignments, doesn’t participate, then nothing can be done. Some subject matter is hard to comprehend let alone master. If it were that simple everyone would be a PhD.
A “right” isn’t always right.
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me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.