Education: A Positive Externality Turned Negative by BreC


The Economic Price of College Failure, is an article about colleges failing to deliver an efficient education to students, which hinders their transition into the corporate world. A study was performed in 2005 on students enrolled in four year colleges; from this study the book Academically Adrift was produced. It was realized students who independently studied had a higher rate of succeeding in the professional world, than students who went to class on a daily basis. Incoming freshman in the class of 2005 graduated during the time of the recession. This study showed that, these students were more likely to be unemployed or underemployed after graduation; because their colleges failed to give them the proper education. The purpose of this article and book was to show that colleges are failing society by failing their students (Carey, page 1)

Education is a positive externality. The reason being, when a person is educated the assumption is they have the power to be more productive than an uneducated person. Productivity in regards to education is measured by the quality of the job a student can receive. For example, if a person has a college education, they are more likely to seek a corporate job; rather than an underpaying job. This means that person will make a higher salary. In return, this person will have a higher purchasing power because they will have more money to spend on goods and services. Spending stabilizes the economy because it sends money back into it, and limits government interference. However, education becomes a negative externality when, the education received is not efficient, and the students who are thought to be able to handle corporate jobs under perform. 

Government Interference 

College education is heavily based on critical thinking. Being able to pass a test just simply means, that a student has the ability to remember information for a period of time; however, this does not correlate with performance. Normally, students focus on passing test rather than truly retaining the information. Therefore, governments should force colleges to change their curriculum. Instead of grades being based on testing it should be based on performance. The government should make the college experience correlate to the real world. Instead of professors teaching their students materials, and their students being tested, they should be made to apply it to real life. For example, if an accounting class is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. A lecture should be given on Monday; this way professors can be sure the students learn the new concept. On Wednesday, students should be made to go to a site (an accounting firm), and apply the information they learned from the lecture in real life. Lastly, on Friday, it should be a reflection. During the reflection, students can discuss their successes and failures, and professors can give them solutions to the failures they had. At the end, students should be required to submit a portfolio. This would ensure students fully understand, and can apply the material they are learning because they would be putting the material into practice. Eliminating testing would give the students the ability to retain and apply information, rather than just temporarily remember it. 

Governments should also make college education free, or more affordable. When students are at a point where they can go to college; they are either discouraged because they cannot afford it, or overwhelmed with how they will pay for it. Many college students pay for their own education. When a student does not attend class, a teacher automatically penalizes the student instead of trying to figure out the problem. The student could be working to pay for college, and be physically burned out. If college education were made free it would lessen the load placed on students, which would give them more energy to devote to their studies. It would also encourage students to apply to college instead of automatically thinking they cannot afford it. If the model of college was changed to learn and apply, and college was made free students would receive the maximum benefit of the college experience. Which is, students would be able to take what they learned, and apply it to real life. 


Education is only a positive externality when the education being delivered is efficient. If students cannot take the material they learned from college, and apply it to a job, colleges have failed their students. Instead of focusing on how well a student does on test, the college model needs to be changed to learn and apply. The reason being, if students are applying the material they learn in class to a field of their choice, by the time four years is completed they will have a greater experience in this field. This means entry level jobs can be eliminated, and college students can automatically receive a higher salary once graduating. Also if college was made free or more affordable, more students would be willing to attend. Ultimately, the more skilled workers an economy has, the more stable the economy. The goal of college should be to maximize the number of attendants and maximize efficiency because this strategy will ultimately stabilize the economy in the future. 








Work Cited

Carey, Kevin. “The Economic Price of Colleges’ Failures.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.



Are We Living the American Dream? by Tieshay Skinner

America is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, so why is it that many still dream of freedom? The mighty Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a world without segregation, discrimination and racism. As an American people have we accomplished this dream? If Dr. King were here today would he be satisfied with President Obama being a representation of his dream come true?

In today’s society the problem of race has been swept under the rug with hopes of ignoring it completely. We cannot ignore the fact that racism still exists. Although we may have a Black President, it doesn’t mean that the problem of the color line has been broken. If anything, it has become a barrier, a barrier between social class and professionalism. Many Young minority lives have been taken due to racial profiling. President Obama as a symbol of our nation is only a small sign of progress towards breaking the problem of the color line. It can also be viewed as a distraction from the ever present issue of race. More so, a distraction from the ultimate goal, the American Dream.

“The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line.” W.E.B Dubois prophesied this problem for the 20th century and it has carried over into the 21st century. Race continues to divide our people and our nation. The color line is also the double consciousness of being an African American. Being African American requires you to be conscious of what it means to know and distinguish your own culture from that of the dominant culture. W.E.B Dubois said “ An American, A Negro, two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals and one dark body whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

America is the land of dreams. Immigrants migrate here dreaming of a better life. Even Americans dream of a better life. We all want the “American Dream”. What is the American Dream? Is it prosperity, money, financial stability and wealth? Is the American Dream really attainable? The American Dream is the ideal that everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative. Better riches for all and equal opportunity for everyone according to their abilities. If this is the American Dream and we still have the problem of the color line, is it really attainable? How can we have a dream that visualizes equal opportunities based on abilities when we have racial profiling? I don’t believe such a dream is attainable when America struggles with equality. Equality understands race is not equivalent to proper treatment; but human beings, despite their race should be equal. As long as the problem of the color line exists, how can we achieve the American Dream?

Value the Past by Aliya Garfield

It is said that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. Notice the quote says doomed rather than fortunate. It is not a good thing to have to cycle repeatedly through the past but that is exactly the case. The problem is we don’t know our history. ‘Blacks’ and other so called ‘minority groups’ are held down by a system of oppression whether you want to believe it or not. This system has painted a rosy picture of “Americans” and a negative and often shameful history of blacks and others. The way the system works is the power group feels that they deserve the privilege of being in the power group for no reason other than that they are a part of the power group. This message is received from parents and is passed down the generations and is manifested in the patriarchy, white privilege and nepotism. The same thing is happening on the flip side with the oppressed group. Oppressed people internalize negative myths about themselves and pass that negative thinking and the negative effects of this thinking to their children. This is manifested in lost identity, self-hate and group hate, low self-worth, as well as assimilation to power group. All these things each come with their own sets of issues that are super effective at perpetuating the system. The only way to stop the confusion is to bust the myths and educate ourselves and each other. Instead of continually perpetuating the confusion learning our past and leaving our piece is of grave importance. Everyone has opinions and ideas about what we need to do in order to make changes or up our status in The United States as the black community. Well I say the first thing to do is learn yourself both individually and as a whole community. Studying the past helps you see patterns in the present guiding you on how to deal and maneuver. People who pay attention to history are not surprised by black men being shot down in the street and their white murderers walking away with no sweat off their brow. This has been happening and will continue to happen if everyone wants to act stunned every time they hear about it on the news. The shock is being stirred up by the media when in reality this has been the norm in America since before the first Fourth of July. Slave laws are on the books in the colonies as early as the 1640. More than 100 years before 1776 slavery was an institution in what would become the United States of America. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Beautiful words written by Thomas Jefferson that he did not apply to the people of his time that looked like me or my family members. Any country that can claim all men to be equal in the first line of their Declaration of Independence and at the same time sanction the institution of racial slavery is deceitful in its inception. This country never meant to include us as anything other than a silent labors force so don’t make the mistake of thinking the value of black life should have gone up in American standards just because of the civil rights era. It is time to recognize what is going on here so we don’t have to repeat it.  Don’t be a passive critic of life. Document your stories, the stories of your elders and help your children start their chapters. Teach them to leave their piece of history. This is important because this is how the future children will know what we did and how we lived and dealt with our problems and what were our successes. By creating primary sources that document our time our progeny won’t face the issues of only learning half a revised history. They also won’t have to deal with being forced into a box. When you don’t know yourself you believe the labels forced on you. All of this can stop the cyclical pattern of oppression. When all the negative myths are abolished we can work to together as a community without having to grapple with all the effects of oppression. This is the Black history month challenge, learn your history that the revisionists don’t want you to know. For the month of February I pledge to give up all the hours I would have spent watching reality tv to studying, writing and sharing with others. By putting a higher value on history I am committing to change. How will you commit to change?