It could be the modern culture's pre-occupation with instant gratification. Education takes patience and determination. Those youths dropping out want to have the trappings of success but don't understand what it takes to get the cash and cars they covet. This article in the Vindicator covers the subject in much more depth than I can. Instead, I want to focus on the advantages the Mahoning Valley offers to anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort to achieve not only a high school education but higher education. After all, a college degree may be worth an extra 1.9 million dollars in earnings over the course of a lifetime than a high school diploma alone.
Youngstown benefits from having many opportunities for higher education nearby. This includes not only academic schools but trade schools offering certification in a number of vocations. Until I compiled the following list I had no idea so many higher education opportunities were so close:
- Youngstown State University
- Kent State University Trumbull Branch
- Penn State University Shenango Branch
- The New Castle School of Trades
- Casal Aveda Institute
- Academy of Court Reporting
- De Vry University
- Raphael's School of Beauty
- Trumbull Business College
- TDDS Professional Training
- Westminster College
- New Castle Beauty School
- Thiel College
- Mount Union College
- Slippery Rock University
It takes determination to finish high school in less than perfect circumstances but people do it every year. Whether the goal is to be a plumber, a doctor or a lawyer there is a school on that list that can help anyone achieve it. And every profession they provide training for is in need somewhere.
What about the cost? People everywhere work part time and get grants and loans. The truly needy qualify for grants that will cover almost all education expenses. For everyone else, there are loans. Click here for the link on how to get started. The government figured out a long time ago that funding a few years of education is cheaper than providing welfare relief for generations.
One way to fight crime is to reduce the excuses people make for illegal behavior. There is no reason to settle for being a pusher or a thief when there are other opportunities. Dealing and stealing are conscious decisions. Simply saying school is hard doesn't excuse anyone from selling dime bags on street corners. Sitting down and figuring out whether you want to crack some books and tough it out for a few years to get a profession or whether you want to worry about some thug gunning you down for your territory should be a no-brainer.
School is hard. Studying and learning is hard. Graduating is hard. However, the pride that everyone is looking for is in the accomplishment. There is respect in gaining a degree or a certificate stating that you are an expert in your field. Those who hold people back from gaining that pride and respect are the failures.