Monday, September 18, 2006

What is the value of an education?

Recently Yahoo! News reported that High school dropouts earn far less money. The article reference a study which found that in the United States high school dropouts do worse when compared to other nations. There were some interesting statistics. It was nice to see an acknowledgement that the Unite States spends a ton of money on education. Often these kinds of articles conclude with a pled for more money.

I got to thinking a bit about what is the value of education? There are several benefits to continuing education. Here are a few:

1) Higher salary - This is an obvious. It is what most people think of when asked why children should have an education. The more our children know, the more productive they can be, and the more they will be able to earn.

2) Greater career options - This is in tandem to the first. If our children have little education, then their options will be limited, partly just by their own limited view. They won't think to even try to be a children's author, a dentist, or a software engineer. By reading and studying more about the world their eyes will be open to an almost countless number of options.

3) Longer life - I've seen a number of articles about how an education helps people to take advantage of medicine. There were some scary statistics that many people don't understand the directions on typical prescriptions and either don't heal, or even worse are hurt by misusing the medicine.

4) Happier life - An increased understanding of how the world works helps us to make informed choices, better choices. As our daughters learn more how to manage money, they will be masters of their finances, and not slaves feeling lost and confused. They will also enjoy learning about the world.

5) More productive life - In Maslow's Hierarchy of needs the last two steps were status and actualization. At these levels people are contributing members to society and able to make a difference. As our children learn they can be more effective in making the world a better place.

I am sure there are many other reasons to educate our children. These are just a few. The thought I'd like to leave with is that we shouldn't be limited to thinking an education is only for a higher salary. There are many reasons to educate our children.

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1 comment:

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

"Nothing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you in after life, save only this, that if you work hard and intelligently you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot, and that, in my view, is the main, if not the sole, purpose of education."
--John Alexander Smith, professor of moral philosophy at Oxford, 1914