The Cost of Education

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Joey Goodstudent
English 101, Section
Causal Argument Essay
February 16, 2009
The Real Cost of Education
It was David Henry Thoreau who said, "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." He graduated from Harvard in 1837, but not with a diploma. He explains, “they have been foolish enough to put at the end of all this earnest the old joke of a diploma.” Thoreau understood that the piece of parchment handed out at commencement means nothing more than the hard work, studying, and education that came before it. Today, those values are lost, and only 59% of Arizonan high school students graduate. This number reflects changes in society, problems in schools, and student’s personal reasoning.

Society today demands a degree, not to get ahead, but just to keep up. An article published in the July 17, 2008 Wall Street Journal titled “The Declining Value of your College Degree” states that “College-educated workers are more plentiful, more commoditized and more subject to the downsizings that used to be the purview of blue-collar workers only. What employers want from workers nowadays is more narrow, more abstract and less easily learned in college.” A phrase like this is very discouraging to a high schooler. When the prospect of a brighter future is taken from the table, the immediate response is “why try?” This attitude gives way to a sense of hopelessness and discouragement. A study by Civic Enterprises shows that 69% of dropouts said that they were not motivated to work hard.

The growing cost of living coupled with the independence of today’s youth creates a need to work, and earn money. In society today, children are growing up much faster. A report by the Guttmacher Institute placed Arizona as the state having the second most pregnancies in women aged 15-19. We fell just 9 teen pregnancies shy of first, at 104. With the average annual cost of raising a child at $17,151, it’s practically impossible to support a family and remain in...
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