Op-Ed: America needs to save the uneducated
Hundreds of universities and small community colleges across America help students each year with achieving their educational goals in life, no matter the challenge or the distance.
Yesterday I read a newspaper article on the Baker City Herald website. The title of the article is “Blue Mtn. CC: Its reach grows by degrees”
and Reporter Chris Collins wrote it.
In his article, Collins included two graduate students from Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) in Baker City, Oregon who are finding success by achieving their goals in higher education. The two students are Drew Leggett and Greg McCarty.
According to Collins’ article, Leggett is attending the Oregon State University agriculture science program at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. Leggett plans to earn a Master’s degree in education with an agricultural endorsement and teach at a university or a community college someday.
McCarty worked at a full-time paying job while taking classes at BMCC and earned enough prerequisites to gain admission to the Oregon Health & Science University nursing program at Eastern Oregon University. His goal is to become a LifeFlight nurse.
While the educational goals that Leggett and McCarty have already reached are highly commendable, I cannot help but wonder what is happening to thousands of people in America who cannot directly benefit from higher education at a university or a small community college.
Such people possibly include those who have a dangerous mental illness or severe learning disabilities, or those who have unusual financial hardships, homeless issues, addiction problems, or bad, dysfunctional family environments where employment, faith, love, financial care and hope do not exist.
Without a strong support system of employment, love, hope or nurturing faith, a student’s ability to earn a college degree is often limited. Most of us know this, and yet we often feel angry or hopeless because we cannot change the system or interfere in a person’s life to help him or her become a successful college student. That is the reality of life.
I am sure there are many successful people who have a loving spouse, children, a full-time paying career and a college degree who want to help strangers who do not have a bright future or cannot live a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, those who want to help often cannot because their hands are tied due to personal safety concerns or rules and regulations or governmental laws and red tape. So they do very little or offer some meager advice to those without hope, and pray everything will work out in the end.
The worst thing an educated person can do is turn his or her back on someone who does not have a bright future. The best thing an educated person can do is open their arms wide and befriend every person they can find on the streets of America who require a hot meal, a warm shower, clean clothes and a safe place to sleep.
America needs a lot more than just educated human beings: a national health care system that works, a good paying job for everyone, and a healthy economy in order to survive on a daily basis. It needs ordinary people like you and me to help those who feel they have no reason to live.
We need to embrace the uneducated, teach them a skill, fill them with love, and show them how to fish so they can feed themselves. Not an easy task, but it can be achievable by working with just one person at a time every day.
Ordinary people conceived America. They also signed a US. Constitution, a Bill of Rights and a Declaration of Independence. Maybe we should go back, read those important documents, and learn what it truly means to help people of any age, race, gender, nationality or disability.
America should not be a country where successful and highly educated people allow the uneducated to fall through the cracks. As a nation, I believe America will grow together or fall apart based largely on how we treat other people, especially fellow Americans, who desperately need our help.