Editor shares opinion on State of the Union Address, importance of education on economy

By Alex Pinsk || Managing Editor

In Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address, which took place this past Wednesday, January 31st, we heard a lot about America’s economy. Trump essentially began his speech by pointing out the positive economic influence that his presidency has had over the past year. He mentioned that there are “2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.” He also made it clear that the new tax-cuts have been beneficial for working-class Americans and that “unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low.” And that is all well and good, assuming these statistics are fact-checkable.

Trump went on about how the nation is now in good standing because of the positive changes that he has made regarding wealth and finance — highlighting his own personal goals for the country. While he did mention a few more of his values, he notably did not touch on education — mentioning it only twice and not featuring it as a significant issue. Certainly it is important to invest in America’s economy; in order for the majority of people to live comfortable lives, they must be employed. However, people with higher levels of education, statistically, tend to secure higher-paying jobs which allow for more comfortable living. Thus, by deduction, investing in education, or at the very least informing people of opportunities, would be the best way to strengthen the economy.

Currently the universal demand for education is high; yet, in many countries, opportunities in education remain low. This may be because leaders are so focussed on creating more jobs and decreasing poverty levels — both admirable goals. These are, potentially, only temporary fixes, however. It seems that in order to fix the problem of income inequality, or at least ameliorate it, we must examine its roots — one of which is education inequality.

While the United States has significantly higher standards of education than do less-developed countries, this nation is still lacking. There are still thousands of students who do not even consider college as an option purely because they do not know the extent of the financial aid that is available to them. That needs to change.

Were Trump to focus on education and to work toward implementing change throughout the nation, other countries might follow suit. He needs to recognize that education inequality is an issue (even if it does not affect his high-class standard of living) and voice concerns about it.

The United States could easily help other countries with goals to increase literacy rates and provide information regarding opportunities in education — which is necessary. Many countries remain fixed in sexist, racist values that are magnified when examining education. As early as elementary education, boys are often given greater opportunities than girls. Not only that, religion, political affiliation, socio-economic status, among other elements play a role in determining whether or not a child can attend school and for how long. It seems to me that an ultimate goal should be to eliminate the contingency of these factors on education. However, that being said, and serious goal needs to be approached in smaller steps.

Education is not an issue that affects one percent of the population. It is a universal issue and should be a universal priority. In order to minimize income inequality we must fortify education networks, increase opportunities, and inform people that education need not always be a financial setback. The United States has a responsibility, as a developed nation, to encourage changes in education policy in other countries, and to strengthen its own.

Sophomore Alex Pinsk is the Managing Editor. Her email is apinsk@fandm.edu.

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