The Value of College

Although this article is a few months old, I just bumped into it in my Internet wanderings.  We just had this conversation at home, since Geeky Boy, struggling with getting his work done, declared that maybe he didn’t want to go to college.  We popped out all kinds of statistics (as educators, we have these things constantly in our minds).  This article gives some really fascinating details to the story of the advantages of a college education.  Earning a better wage (or wages over time) has always been something most people knew almost instinctively.  It turns out, that education (and increased wage) pays dividends in many other ways.  College-educated people are less likely to divorce, less likely to smoke, more likely to live in urban areas with lots of culture.  All those things benefit their children, who grow up healthy, go to the best schools (because their college-educated parents can afford to live in affluent areas or pay for private school), and have a wealth of culture at their doorsteps.  And so they perpetuate the benefits onward.

Two quotes that struck me.  This, about marginal students:

Research shows that being in school longer – whatever is happening in and around the classroom – improves young people’s chances of doing well in most areas of life. Moreover, it is the marginal students, the ones who barely get into college, who benefit most from a college education.

Those are the ones I tend to latch onto.  Yes, I love the smart ones, the ones who give great answers, but I like the spunky ones, the ones who struggle a bit, and who usually figure things out in the end.

And then this one, about where people live based on education:

. . . neighborhood segregation by college education grew substantially between 1970 and 2000. It grew faster than segregation by income, even as segregation by race declined. Another study documents how the highly-educated are concentrating in the downtowns of the most booming cities.  And a recent story reported that these degree-holders are starting to raise their children in center cities — even in Manhattan. Thus, enclaves of the highly-educated are growing in chic, gentrified, non-smoking neighborhoods, while the less educated move to the scraggly, sprawling suburbs of stagnating cities.

That last line struck me.  I’ve seen those suburbs of stagnating cities (yes, Indianapolis, I’m looking at you).  It’s not pretty.

Some very interesting stuff there.  What do you think?

One Reply to “The Value of College”

  1. That last line strikes me. I have three college degrees with a professional career and moved to a “scraggly, sprawling suburban” neighborhood that I absolutely adore!

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