As I prepare for a new internship with the House Committee on Education, I am reminded of my passion for education and seeing girls succeed. This article was posted last week on the Democratic Committee’s website , I think it’s important to acknowledge good policy whenever it comes into fruition (regardless of which party sponsors it).
A new Georgetown University study shows that Americans with no more than a high school education, who sustained the greatest share of job losses in the recession, continue to lose jobs at a faster rate than better-educated people. From the New York Times:
Over nearly five years of financial turmoil, Americans across a broad spectrum have suffered blows to wages, benefits and savings. But when it comes to employment, the crux of financial survival, the study revealed a tale of sharply different economies, defined by education.
Even during the recession, as millions of jobs vanished, the number of people with bachelor’s degrees who had jobs did not decline. And even as employment rose during the recovery, people who did not go to college continued to lose ground, shedding 200,000 jobs from early 2010 to early 2012… From late 2007, when the recession began, to early 2012, the number of people with jobs in the least-educated group [those who did not go to college] fell by more than 5.8 million, or 10 percent. In the middle group [those with some college education or an associates degree], recession losses were not as steep and were almost completely reversed by early this year. And in the best-educated group [those with at least a bachelor’s degree], in which there was no net loss during the recession, the number of people with jobs climbed by 2.2 million, or 5 percent.
Now more than ever, a college degree is vital. In a flagging recovery, higher education is a crucial step on the path toward economic success. It is for this reason that we need to strengthen our k-12 public education system and keep college within reach for as many Americans as possible. Preparation for college readiness begins in early childhood, elementary, secondary, and high school. That is why Rep. George Miller opposed the Republican proposal for ESEA reauthorization that did nothing to advance the public education system, improve schools, or advance student achievement. Instead, Rep. Miller offered substitute amendments to the reauthorization that set a goal of graduating all students ready for college and careers. This means that schools and districts must be held accountable for both the academic achievement of students and for ensuring that students graduate on time with a high school diploma. Currently, 1.3 million students—over 7,000 every school day—do not graduate from high school on time and that is unacceptable. Rep. Miller’s substitute amendments also required that all students be taught to high standards, and supported teacher and leader effectiveness and improved professional development. Unfortunately these amendments failed on a partisan vote.
While the recession hurt America as a nation, it also offers us insight on how to prevent such pitfalls, or guard against them. When we know that the more educated are less effected by economic uncertainty, we can make moves that position our young people for success. It makes me proud to be a part of organizations such as SAGE and the AAUW, part of the movement ensuring that girls have every opportunity to enter into competitive markets and career fields through academic achievement and experiences. It is that hope for success that propels us into action, that motivates me to progress in my personal education, and in working for educational opportunities for the marginalized. Sometimes in life we get so caught up in the mundane tasks, relationships and logistical bullshit that we forget what inspires us. And I felt that tonight. That little spark, little burning in my chest that pulses through my veins, resonating YES with every ounce of my being. YES this is what I’m destined for. YES I am capable, YES I am worthy.