Equal Access to Education Ensures Opportunities

Photo by Nicole Williams

Many conversations have been centered on race relations, equality and class warfare in the last few months, splitting the nation into many opposing factions.

The seemingly constant debate over what advantages or disadvantages society gives out based on race or economic backgrounds damages the mission behind programs for educational opportunity, whose missions provide opportunities for people from all walks of life to get an education that they are normally unable to afford.

Changing the chances for people to crawl out of poverty to change the basis of their lives is what these national conversations should be about.

The arguments, however, seem to focus on race and the pressures on the economy, but the main goal is lost in that debate, which is helping change peoples' lives and giving them an opportunity to push forward while creating more allies on this issue.

That part of the argument seems to be lost between the yelling and the hatred.

According to the state of New Jersey’s government page, next year’s annual income requirement for Educational Opportunity Fund applicants for the 2015-2016 academic year is below $23,340.

The point of all this is that politics needs to take a back seat to the standards of humanity and avoiding oppression in a hidden form.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about oppression is some dictator or war machine keeping people at the boot heels of the government.

Thinking of oppression as just an unfair or cruel exercise of authority or power makes it easy to think of the highest evils of tyrants and abusers.

The whole reason this race and economic issue is relevant lies in the idea that society as a whole fails to bring forth important ideas of liberty and freedom.

We need people who will fight to make sure every human, no matter what race or economic status, receives opportunities to attend higher education institutions.

The most educated scholars say that college is not a right – it is a privilege. Yet it is not a privilege that is given out to the most deserving based on what is needed to be successful. Instead, it limits people who wish to see themselves move forward and those who want to learn more about the world and society that we live in.

Not everyone wants to go to school and that is fine, if they can still sustain themselves and become productive to society through skills and trades or simply being around and working hard for family or for charity. However, the nature of schooling is to become educated and stay informed.

It is important to note that the problems that ail society are not going to be fixed by letting more people go to school, but doing so will help cultivate a more informed population and give more minds the opportunity to challenge conventional thinking and wisdom, as well as provide solutions.

We will not create utopian societies in an instant because people go to school and are given more opportunities, but the chance of people going forward to make a change will increase and citizens will gain more knowledge to combat the ignorance we face in society.

The ability to go to college is a blessing and the ability to do so should be shared with the masses. The chance we have in school is enormous and should be taken seriously. As said by Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” That may seem cliché to anyone who has gone to see a motivational speaker, but the knowledge shared by a community is a blessing worth fighting for.