Education is not for sale

Students protest at the University of Vienna in Austria in October 2009.

If there were an attitude to summarize my generation, it would be “perceived victimhood.” Indeed, when something is not going for us, it’s because of those no good, rotten American institutions. None more recent than blaming the educational institutions for their own decisions.

We all hear it.

Some whine about their major. In journalism, people complain about being objective while some think political science is biased toward conservatives. If you don’t like the course or major, change it. Some even whine about the educational websites having a short mishap. Stop whining about it. Howling to the moon isn’t going to change anything.

And then there’s the free college for everyone conversation that is highly debated. That’s why candidates like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who propose wiping out student debt and offering more affordable education are so popular with my generation. My generation doesn’t want to pay them, and if they can discreetly make other people pay for it, you better believe my generation will do it.

If it’s not for wiping out student debt, it’s free college. How are we going to pay for those expensive tuition costs that we constantly moan about, older folk ask? We just shrug our shoulders and either reply “The top 1% will pay for it!” or “It’s free, who cares.” Accountable we are not.

Am I being harsh on my generation? Probably.

However, it’s tiring to see so many peers of mine whine about their own education. Generations ago, half the country didn’t graduate from high school. Centuries ago, it was a privilege to know how to read and write. Now it’s a given that not only you can read and write, but also have more opportunities to graduate from high school. That seems like something to cheer about, not complain.

Everything in education has improved. Notions about certain subjects constantly change in science. Technology has given rise to many educational advancements. You can now teach classes across opposing sides of the country.

As someone with a disability, you better believe when others without a disability complain about their education it hits a nerve. Do you know how many people with a disability struggle to read? Or how many people with a disability struggle with keeping up in class? How do you think it makes us feel when you say “college isn’t fair”? Some of us only dream of having the chance to take college courses. I’m blessed to have that ability because many don’t.

Maybe you should appreciate the education you have because not everyone can have it.