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Is It Beneficial for Every Person to Go to College to Receive a Higher Education or Is It Simply a Waste of Time?

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Is it beneficial for every person to go to college to receive a higher education or is it simply a waste of time? The frequently asked question whether or not too many people are going to college can be subject to a multitude of different opinions. Charles Murray, the W. H.  Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise, who describes himself as a libertarian shares his own views on the subject matter in his writing “Are Too Many People Going to College?”. Murray seems to favor the opposition that every person should go to college, and presents a persuadable argument why it may not be for everyone. In my own opinion on the matter, I would have to agree with Murray’s statement that indeed too many people are going to college and at a costly expense.

In brief, Charles Murray explains three points made by E. D. Hirsch Jr. regarding the basics of what every American needs to know to be considered educated among the society. The first point, “Full participation in any culture requires familiarity with a body of core knowledge.” explains that every person living in the United States should be aware of its cultural backgrounds and should thus signify a degree of cultural illiteracy about America. The next point, “The core knowledge is an important part that holds the culture together.” explains the importance in knowledge of the iconic stories of Americas past times, which unites we the people as Americans through our core knowledge of shared identity. The final point presented, “K-8 are the right years to teach the core knowledge, and the effort should get off to a running start in elementary school.” expresses the importance to starting early in presenting the core knowledge to children, as these are the years that kids are eager to learn and when taught right the information can be fascinating to the young mind while still receiving the benefits (Graff, Birkenstein, Murray 235-236). I am in full agreeance with the points made by Hirsch, in belief that if followed as directed they could be very beneficial to all Americans in receiving and building off the core knowledge.

Liberal Education in College is a very important aspect to be incorporated, although the question presented is whether that education is established in a timely fashion. Murray argues that the form of liberal education being offered at the college level should be sooner incorporated into the high school education systems. An example of this as stated in the text, A high-school graduate who has acquired Hirsch’s core knowledge will know, for example, that John Stuart Mill was an important 19th-century English philosopher who was associated with something called Utilitarianism and wrote a famous book called On Liberty (Graff, Birkenstein, Murray 237). With the early incorporation of liberal education in the high school setting, I believe less people would feel required to force themselves to go to college because in reality not all 18 year old’s are ready for it. College Board researchers deemed the term “College readiness” as an SAT score to be 1180 on the combined SAT math and verbal tests. This becomes the point where people make the decision that if given the academic ability to absorb a college-level liberal education based on their performance on the SAT tests then they may proceed to college, but should everyone who is eligible do so? Murray weighs his opinion that depending on the future aspirations of the individual will solely depend on whether or not a college liberal education is reasonable to achieve. The example of a girl in the 98th percentile of academic ability wanting to become a lawyer is used by Murray. He explains that it is essential for the girl to receive a college liberal education apart from its value to her it will also reflect a synergistic effect on the nation, in which the only reason for pushing her to pursue these goals are that odds are high that she will enjoy the process. This concept is not to be misunderstood that students in the lower percentiles are not to be considered smart people or cannot be successful getting a college liberal education. It is simply stating that a student in the lower percentile should not be pushed into college although the academic ability is present with hard work, the odds are that the student will not wish to pursue a career compared to a student in the upper percentile. I agree with Murray’s approach to this soft topic. All people have characteristics which define them in their own specific way, some must work harder to achieve what comes with ease to others. With that being said people should make the decision that is best suitable for themselves and their own situation to pursue a college education, but should not feel pressured by higher forces only because they are academically applicable to do so.

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