College best investment

In these tough economic times, a good education is still the best investment.

For individuals, getting an education is the first step out of poverty. When you consider that, on average, people with college degrees earn more than $23,000 a year more than those with a high school education, the numbers speak for themselves.

For our nation, a better education system gives us an economic edge in a global economy where the most prized attribute is knowledge and the ability to use it creatively.

For years, the United States has been losing ground to other countries in terms of our academic achievement, particularly in math and science.

If we don’t reverse this trend, we will be less competitive globally. In Shelby County, more than 20 percent of the students who enter high school don’t graduate. That’s in one of the wealthiest counties in Alabama.

When you examine where the lowest graduation rates occur, it is often in schools in low income areas.

Since income does not determine intellectual ability, attending school in an economically depressed area should not mean low educational attainment.

However, we come from a long tradition of educational systems that put students into categories early, labeling some with the expectation of failure before they have even had the chance to succeed.

Having high expectations of all students means that we take the time to require them to achieve more than they believe they are capable.

Education should be for all our children, encouraging them to question and think creatively about our world.

This kind of education requires resources in a time when they are scarce, but the alternative is even more expensive: diminished stature in the global economy for our nation.