The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

October 8, 2013

Our View: Learning always valuable

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe made stops in Webb City and Joplin this past week as part of his Show Me Value Tour.

His conversation with students, teachers and business leaders is part of an effort to debunk a growing sentiment that a college education is not as valuable as it once was.

It’s too bad that he or anyone else would even have to spend time making that point. Of course, it also seems insane in this day and age that any parent would allow a child to drop out of high school. Yet it continues to happen.

Wolfe, using Webb City as an example because that was the school he visited, said about 60 percent of the district’s graduates go on to college. That’s below the state average of 69 percent. Many other schools in our readership area face the same challenges. Wolfe said a growing body of literature points to increases in student debt and declining job placement rates as reasons for students to reconsider going to college.

But then what? The alternative of not going to college, Wolfe said, holds far more dire consequences than paying off student debt.

While not every high school graduate will choose college, we believe in the power of continued learning, whether it is through some type of vocational training, a junior college or a university. In fact, continued education is something we all should embrace. Learning doesn’t stop at 18, 25 or even 60. There are opportunities for all of us to improve ourselves.

But the notion that a college education doesn’t hold the same value it once did is nonsense.

Education can’t be rated solely by cost versus the size of a paycheck. Higher learning brings with it an opportunity for discoveries about one’s potential that might never be realized elsewhere.

Education changes lives and futures. Its worth is priceless.

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