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    We are being told, by some, that the prosperity of the eighties has increased the disparity between rich and poor. While that may be true, I don't know that this is a bad thing. It may be that the poor have not really gotten poorer, but simply that the rich have had the opportunity to get richer; if this is true then there would seem to be opportunities for the poor also. Happily, no one starves in this country, whatever the papers and some advocate groups may say to the contrary. What is more frightening to me than the disparity between rich and poor widening, is the disparity of opportunity; this may be happening too.
    This introduces the topic of education, of the need for secondary education in order to have any chance at real success, and of the virtual monopoly that the government has on primary and basic education. There is a very well done commercial which I remember from my childhood, which gravely told us "to get a good job, get a good education". I have no argument with this, except to inquire about what constitutes a good education, and what needs to be done, and endured in order to attain one. There is also the matter of what an education should do for us, is it simply preparation for a job as the aforementioned commercial implies, or is there more to it?  Many people believe that education should teach us how to think; there are some who believe that our minds and our attitudes should be molded. We often hear about proposals to put religion back into public schools, and even to attempt to teach morals, and proper behavior. These proposals always meet with wide spread opposition, and generally are not implemented, yet the politicizing of entire curriculums has been implemented with hardly a mention. Politics have begun to dominate secondary education to the extent that I have taken English courses which were so biased and opinionated in the assigned readings, and in the required themes, that I felt I should be getting credit for a poli-sci, or cultural diversity course (now required of all students at U.W.M. in order to graduate). I have also taken biology courses where we were lectured on the evils of industry to the environment, and geology courses which taught me that all land developers are evil and should be thrown in jail. I shudder to think of what the history, and sociology courses must be like. Are all of these things truly what education should be doing for us, or should it simply be the presentation of facts, and the passing on of skills?
    The reason that I see this as such a vital subject is that, if there is a real class structure and struggle in this country, it may be between those who are educated, and those who are not, or can not be. Most of the other, so called, class distinctions arise from this one factor. Power, money, position, even the neighborhood in which we live, and the circle of friends we have are products of the education we have acquired. Unfortunately, it also seems that for many, the attitude and values we hold were also a part of the education we received. It is possible that we are forming a gentry which works, lives, and thinks differently than the uneducated "people". This attitude can be seen in many of the speech patterns of some planners, and highly educated people. Unlike the nobility of past centuries, this new nobility does not use terms like "the lower classes", or "peasants". Instead they refer to their perceived inferiors as "the general population" or "blue collar workers", they may also use terms like "urban poor", the "working class", "the public" or even "the disadvantaged". In reference to themselves, the are "white collar" or perhaps "professional (or, degreed professional)", or maybe just "the educated class (or simply, the well educated)".
    So why might I have a problem with this, after all, what is wrong with a person securing a good education and improving his station in life? As an avowed conservative, I claim to believe in the freedom of the individual to strive to better himself, and isn't that what these people are doing? Indeed they are, but what are they being taught besides what they have come to school to  learn, and what might be the consequences of an entire generation of the leaders and planners of this nation being indoctrinated politically at the schools charged with preparing them for their chosen positions in life? The problem I have with this is not so much that so many of these people are taught a liberal, political mindset, but that they are taught it at school instead of picking it up through life experience. It is my belief that the real world would (and in time does) teach most of these people a different, more realistic set of values, but how long will it take, and what mistakes will be made on false assumptions, and politicized decisions while these lessons are being learned? The consequences of this are very real. We have doctors talking about political issues as if they were health issues; we have teachers talking about political issues as if they were education issues, and we have journalists giving their opinions, and talking about political issues, as if both were a factual reporting of the news. The common man is busy earning a living and has little to do with much of what controls his life; if you think this is not true, then see if you can think of a single elected representative who is not college educated, or a single judge, or administrative worker in the government. While it is certainly preferable to have educated people in these positions, education by no means guarantees competence, and it is frightening to think that the only path to power these days is through secondary education, and that the only path through secondary education is well posted with political messages.
    Yet another fearful thing about the educated class, is that they are indeed, becoming just that ---a separate class. Distinct from those who are not educated, the professional class begins to have different priorities, and sets itself apart even more by lobbying for special privileges. This is why lawyers, who as officers of the court are allowed to carry firearms, are notoriously anti gun, or are, at any rate, opposed to the use of firearms by people outside of their class. This is also the reason that taxes, government programs, and restrictive laws are constantly on the rise even though most citizens oppose them, because they serve the interest of government workers, most of whom vote, and most of whom are college educated. Our representatives no longer represent us, but look after the interests of their own class. In a fluid class situation this is not so bad; you want the people who have lifted themselves up to be running things. The problem is that college is becoming unattainable for those whose parents did not attend, so that the class structure is no longer so fluid. If your parents are not college educated and "white collar", you will have a much more difficult time becoming college educated yourself, and for a number of reasons. First, your parents may not see college as necessary. It may be considered as one option among many in planning your life and career. Second, It may not be affordable. There are grants, and loans, but they will generally not get you into the best colleges, and may not offer enough money to handle all of your outside expenses even if they do cover tuition, and you (or your parents) may not be happy with the idea of shouldering thousands of dollars in debt . Third, you may not have the proper preparation. This is a sad fact of life, that he public schools are dismal in the urban areas where most "working class" types live. These are the largest, most heavily administered systems, and have been afflicted with most of the "progressive" educational theories. Add to this the fact that many public school students simply do not care, and neither do their parents, nor do many of the administrators and teachers, and you have a recipe for the disaster which many, large public school systems have become.
    In contrast to the working class family, in the professional family, it is assumed that college will be a natural extension of high school. There will also be enough money and a willingness (along with the resources with which) to take on the required debt. The suburban communities, and upscale city neighborhoods in which most of the college educated live, have much better schools (though many of these children, particularly big city dwellers, go to private schools), lower crime, and are in general a better place for a child to grow up, and grow intelligent. Preparation for college is taken very seriously in most of these households, and the aspiring student is almost certain to be accepted. The student is also more likely to receive support and encouragement from peers, most of who are college bound themselves, and from parents.
    This is not set in stone yet, but for every generation that passes, it will be a little more difficult to move from one class to another. Right now it is almost impossible to attend college if you are from a poor family, not only because of money, but  because of social and educational background. It is a challenge, but within the realm of possibility for a person of moderately middle class beginnings to aspire to the professions, but is not at all common. It is a fairly simple matter for children of people in the trades to get into college, the money, good schools, and parental concern are there, but most will follow their parents' profession, or stay within the trades. Only in among the children of the college educated is secondary education almost a given. As financial, and educational requirements get higher, and the basic public schools, and our freedoms to challenge them, and to keep the money we earn diminish, college, and the professions (along with the leadership opportunities available to the educated  class)  will be closed off to more and more families which are not already of that class.
    A century ago, most people did not attend secondary school, but at that time it was not nearly so important as it is today. At that time the social fabric was much more fluid. A century ago it was possible to enter into politics, run a big company, do design and engineering work, even be admitted to the bar without a college education. A poor man could rise to the top by working hard, and letting the world educate him; this is no longer possible. A man so educated and rising in such a fashion, would have formed his own views, and opinions of the world. The educated who are trained to power these days, set forth filled with the opinions of their teachers. Some of these opinions are embedded in classes on a variety of subjects, but others are actually taught undisguised, though they are subjective matters taught as if they are objective fact. One perfect example of this is the plague of cultural diversity, and other such classes. These are opinions taught as fact, and in order to get a passing grade you must parrot back to the instructor, the opinions of the originator of the class. This was a typical ivory tower, academic  solution to a flare up of racial incidents some years ago ---  make every one take a class. In order to graduate, you must take a certain number of credit hours in such classes, and you must absorb enough of whatever opinionated offal is being dished out, to pass. I would like to know how many students who have made it to this point, balk at this final insulting attempt at indoctrination, and social engineering, and how many others have been confused, and misled by such propaganda, or even worse, actually believe it. Even among those who think it a duty of the school to end social problems, I must ask what good they think these misguided efforts are doing. The solution to racial violence (or any other type of violence) is not a class, but the police and the legal system. With the emphasis on Political correctness, social awareness, advocacy, and activism, students are no longer taught how to accomplish, but rather, what to accomplish. A comparison of student organizations from fifty years ago, compared with the student organizations on campus now, shows an unfortunate shift in priority. Where there used to be sporting organizations, professional, and hobby clubs, along with some student volunteer groups, nearly the entire spectrum of student groups today reads like a list of crackpot political and social causes. Most of these groups have socialist, liberal, or progressive themes, and most are deadly serious about winning over converts, and shutting out opposition. Where the former student groups encouraged exploration, participation, and the gaining of experience and in some cases skills, the new ones are entirely about opinion, politics and the pursuit of power and influence (in support of their good cause, of course). When the entire professional, and ruling class comes from these institutions, and when they are becoming more and more closed off to the rest of us, we should be very concerned about what lessons are really being taught there.