The NYPIRG Student Action meeting that was held on the 25th was an eye opener, with much of the discussion centered on 5 campaigns: environment campaign, mass transit campaign, hunger homeless campaign, higher education campaign and consumer outcome project. Eventually, we had to get ourselves into “break-out groups” that focused on one of the 5 campaigns. I sticked to the higher education campaign and this is what followed. The higher education campaign talked mostly about the issues on budget cuts on education proposed by certain officials (ie. Governor Patterson).
NYPIRG took a stand against these budget cuts, saying that it would affect a lot of programs, including the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), as well as various community colleges (NYPIRG). It questioned the necessity of these cuts, and stated that the proposals for the cuts would eventually cause problems in the short and long run for students. These issues, I realize, are part of a bigger picture regarding social stratification and inequality in the education system.
Not only do these talks lead to the notion of the further sustenance of inequality and stratification, but it also strengthens the problem and deviates from the necessity of finding the right solution for it. The hindrance of finding the solution, however, may be bigger than the existence of the problem. Currently, we are faced with a society that is focused on various programs that do not effectively revolve around the need for education among the people.
Whilst there is a growing realization for such need, various programs are either disallowed or hindered by the necessity of programs on the current war effort and restoration of peace among many nations. Other programs, such as health, financial and economic stability, and poverty are a more pressing concern than the needs for a bigger budget on education. One could say that the prioritization of these issues is the common dominant ideology that our society is facing right now.
And truth be told, what could blame it? Right now it would be more rational for our politicians to propose budget cuts and place the money on programs that would effectively bring lower costs on food and taxes than be lenient on improving programs that are also important but not as important. It would be logical for the government on focusing on projects that would keep the sick healthy, the people of our country fed, and every family with a roof on their head and not freezing out on the streets.
In a country that is struggling through recession, the necessity for survival would seem greater than the necessity of a higher education. Setbacks such as this however, could cost us in the long run when our brightest are those that have bigger paychecks and those who have the potential and capacity to excel are left in the cold for lack of money necessary for their education. And the society, hard as it may be, wouldn’t probably mind either. It is part of our culture to make sacrifices when necessary. But there are some things that question the necessity of this sacrifice.
One could argue, for instance, that with the so-called programs to keep society afloat, the issues on the current crisis on Iraq has yet to be stabilized despite the focus of some programs there. And then there are the issues on corporations and other organizations in the economic sector. Why would they get the money from the budget cuts that we benefit in? But I digress, for I am not here to argue on such grounds. The idea here is that, by going on with the dominant ideology, we could very be establishing an even greater rift on the stratification in our education.
It may be early for us to notice the changes and problems, but it is inevitable that they would come should the current situation remains unchanged. Bibliography: NYPIRG. (n. d. ). NYPIRG’s higher education campaign. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www. nypirg. org/higher_ed/ Schaefer, R. T. (2009). Chapter 1: Understanding Sociology. In Selected Chapters from Sociology: A Brief Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill. Schaefer, R. T. (2009). Chapter 3: Culture. In Selected Chapters from Sociology: A Brief Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.