Monday, March 26, 2012

Educate Me

We have two children graduating from high school this June.



Both are highly ranked in their class, have worked very hard, have diligently attended to their scholarship throughout the last 12 years of their lives. We couldn't be more proud or more profoundly awestruck by their intelligence and their talents.

Both applied to an assortment of colleges and have worked since the beginning of this school year at getting applications filed, forms filled out, essays written, guidance counselors met with, visits conducted. Now, after a flood of acceptances, reality is sinking in fast.

My wife and I did not sleep much last night, burdened by the realization that our children are now facing their first, real, cold, hard test of life: money does indeed make the world go 'round.

Here is the infernal reality that all parents of college-bound students have had to face that we now, ourselves, are facing: despite the straight-As, the extracurricular activities and the participation in year-round sports; despite doing "all the right things" that colleges tell their students they "must" do if they want to be accepted to their school, it really all comes down to who has the money to afford it.

If our daughter, to use an example, were to go to her top school, she would need to come up with about $49,000.

A year.

If she were to work a full-time job while attending - which many, many people have been forced to do - she could make roughly 20 grand. That's a 10-dollar-an-hour job, or roughly the average that college students make. So, that would leave a balance due of $29,000.

So, you might be asking, "Why the hell does she have to go to her top school? Why can't she go to a cheaper school? Maybe her priorities are not in the right place?"

My response?

Why the hell does my child have to settle in the wealthiest fucking country in the world, a country in which upwards of $700 billion is spent on defense but a paltry 3 percent is given to educate its children?

My children have worked as hard as any. They've made the grade. They've proven themselves to be bright and willing to do what it takes to get into the best schools. And they're being told they can't go because, well, they just don't have the green.

Never mind. My countrymen are much more interested in what the Kardashians are wearing for a bra size.

My apologies.

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