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Where do young people come down on questions of faith, values, and public life? How do they relate their values to public policy issues including education, economic inequality, and the environment? These questions, critically important for the 2012 election, are at the center of a campus conversation being organized by the Berkley Center and Georgetown University. This blog features an ongoing conversation about these issues between students selected as Millennial Values Fellows through a national competition. You can read and comment on their blogs here.

To learn more about the project, visit the Campus Conversation on Values page.

OTHER POSTS

Millennials on Social Media and Politics

November 15, 2012

Millennials on Social Issues and Diversity

November 12, 2012

Hira Baig (Rice) on Why the Presidential Election Matters to Millennials

November 7, 2012

Millennials on Religion and Interfaith Work

November 7, 2012

Ryan Price (Drake) on E Pluribus Duo

November 6, 2012

Mohammad Usman (DePauw) on Unpredictable Millennials

November 5, 2012

Millennials on Affirmative Action Policy

November 3, 2012

Seth Warner (Vassar) on What Happens as the "God Gap" Widens

November 2, 2012

Josina De Raadt (Dordt) on How Social Media Is Like Wii Bowling

October 31, 2012

Zachary Yentzer (Arizona State) on the Next Greatest Generation

October 29, 2012

Brice Ezell (George Fox) on Post-Racial America? Race, Millennials, and the 2012 Election

October 25, 2012

Tyler Bishop (Vanderbilt) on a Future of Hashtags #whatitmeansforus

October 23, 2012

Brice Ezell (George Fox) on How the People Can Heal a “Divided,” Partisan Nation

October 4, 2012

Hira Baig (Rice) on Religion and American Democracy

October 4, 2012

Tyler Bishop (Vanderbilt) on How It’s All About Relatability: Voter Turnout

October 3, 2012

Josina De Raadt (Dordt) on Mistaking Politics for a Hollywood Blockbuster

October 2, 2012

Mohammad Usman (DePauw) on the Internet Solution

October 1, 2012


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Salt of the Earth
October 17, 2008
Pakistan's Quicksand
April 24, 2009

Jonathan Padilla (Harvard) on Educational Opportunity

Educationalopportunity

March 27, 2012

This January I picked up John Keegan’s Churchill: A Life and founded that it was immensely difficult to put down. From war stories in South Africa to political intrigue in the House of Commons, Churchill was a bold person who dared to speak truth in spite of the ramifications that such courage entailed. One passage in particular has been stuck in the back of mind. During his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill dedicated a war memorial to the fallen soldiers of the Royal Navy and said the following: “They [the sailors] never asked the question, ‘What shall we gain?’ They asked only the question, ‘Where lies the right?’”
Now, what does this have to do with education? In short, it has both everything and nothing to do with education in America. Education is the foundation upon which all other rights are built on for “an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people,” said Thomas Jefferson. Churchill’s commentary underscores that decisions ought to be made with the rubric of sound, practical, and honest discourse. So naturally, given the state of political gridlock in America, this language has no place in the lexicon of American political debate.

Politics on both sides of the aisle contributed to this debacle. From Senator Santorum’s position that getting a college degree makes you a snob, to those on the left who at times are unwilling to challenge the teacher unions, there is no one group without blame, except for perhaps the students who have been caught up in a generation of academic dysfunction and political brinksmanship. Education is the foundation of rights and the beginning of the road to prosperity. There’s no denying the fact that the unemployment rate for those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher is 4.4%. There’s no denying that 21st century jobs at places like Google and Facebook require extensive skill development. There’s no denying that if this nation actually prioritized education policy there would be real and tangible gains.

The education gap in this nation is widening. A 2011 study out of Stanford pointed out that the gap between disadvantaged and affluent communities has grown by 40% since the 1960’s. Without robust reforms to education, the great hope for equality of opportunity dies and with that dies a cornerstone of the American dream: that anyone with a vision, and a hope, and drive can succeed in America. We can all take part in this struggle. Personally, I turned down several lucrative lobbying and finance positions to spend two years working with Teach for America in Las Vegas, Nevada. For others, putting political pressure on Congress and starting a conversation with your neighbors is a start. This issue does not demand unanimity, but the right clearly lies on the side of putting the next generation at the center of our policy agendas. Americans of all stripes need to be audacious enough to admit something is wrong and then courageous enough to completely revamp a system that is limiting the potential of children and the future of our Republic.

Ala Ahmad comments – March 29, 2012

I agree that the education gap is growing, but I think a major contributor to the gap is the failure of much of our primary education and secondary education. Several Americorp programs are designed to help prepare students for college as juniors and seniors in high school. However, by that point it is too late. Many students at that point have trouble with basic arithmetic and reading. How can they be expected to succeed in college if they are able to be admitted?