A (Free) College Education for Everyone?

This article originally appeared at Conciliar Post.
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Magdalen College, Oxford

You may have heard that last week President Obama announced an initiative to provide “free” community college education for qualifying students, tentatively defined as those maintaining a “C” average in school. As noted several months ago here at Conciliar Post, the status quo of the American education system needs reform, as the overall monetary and policy prioritization of K-12 education has done relatively little to effectively educate America’s youth and prepare them for their future vocations.1 Few deny that something needs to change in education, though conclusions as to just what that something is remain debated. The purposes of this article involve neither rehashing these concerns nor reacting to our President’s particular proposal—for actual details are scant at this point.2 Rather, this article considers the generalities of “free college education” for everyone, just one part of the greater “education question” that faces our nation. To these ends, I reflect on three questions concerning the cost, need, and implications of a program offering “free” community college education. Continue reading

Book Review: Is College Worth It? (Bennett)

Is College Worth ItHalf of the college graduates in 2010-11 were unemployed or dramatically underemployed in 2013. Student loan debt is mounting for thousands of people across the country. More people are finding it difficult to get a well paying job with only a bachelors degree. Many people know that there are some problems with the American Higher Education System. But few take the time to sit down and really examine the costs and benefits of the American College Dream. To critically assess these issues (and more) comes the latest book from New York Times Best selling author William J. Bennett and David Wilezol, Is College Worth It? A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education. Continue reading

Thinking About Change

ChangeHaving just moved to a new city, a new apartment, and started a new job, the subject of change has been on my mind lately. Change is hard: the times when I’ve transitioned to a new environment, be it moving across the country or going off to school, have been some of the most challenging periods of my life. Apart from practical and logistical concerns (Where IS the nearest grocery store? My, that is an impressive pothole!), when people move they often experience opportunities to let their faith change or, worse, slip away. The large portions of graduating high school seniors who walk away from their faith during their undergraduate years is well documented. So how do you remain faithful to your faith during times of change and challenge? Here are some suggestions. Continue reading

Book Review: NIV College Devotional Bible (Zondervan)

College Devotional BIbleCollege students are busy, with class, homework, living on their own, a social life, and (often) work vying for their time. Amidst this busyness, it’s relatively easy to neglect the more important things in life, like reading your Bible. To help address this problem, Zondervan has released the New International Version College Devotional Bible.

The College Devotional Bible is intended to encourage Bible reading among college students by emphasizing regular devotions and a series of reading plans that help keep students in the scriptures. Included in this Bible are 222 devotionals, which include a scripture reading, a short devotional story (historic, pastoral, or narrative), and reflection questions. These are generally good devotional moments, geared toward busy students and the questions they may come across while at college. While it would have been helpful to have an index of all these devotions, having them tucked within the contexts of the scriptures serves as a good encouragement to read this Bible along with the devotional content. Continue reading

The Importance of (Liberal) Education

This article originally appeared at Conciliar Post.
Photo Courtesy of Richard Lee

Photo Courtesy of Richard Lee

Every year in America millions of dollars are spent on “education.”1 We have made K-12 schooling a priority, offered every child the chance at a high school diploma, and, more recently, emphasized the importance of a college degree. Yet despite this commitment of time, energy, and money not only are students falling behind internationally on test scores2 and graduating high school unprepared for college,3 but they are also often graduating college unprepared for their careers.4 This has lead many people to conclude that how Americans do education needs to change. Part of the solution to our education woes, I would suggest, is more precisely determining what is meant “education.” Continue reading