Exporting education

Education is AmericaâÄôs largest export. This idea was first posed to me by a high school teacher, and at the time it seemed odd to me. However, four years at the University of Minnesota have convinced me otherwise.

Many would think that agricultural products or technology are AmericaâÄôs largest exports.

However, an American education has been something that has truly been sought after for centuries. With early colleges like Harvard and Yale, Europeans as early as the 1700s would traverse the Atlantic to attend these top schools.

As time progressed, more and more elite American universities arose, and people from across the globe would do anything to come to America for college. Even today, 13 of the top 25 universities in the world are in the U.S. Moreover, the entirety of the public school system was envied by countries worldwide.

The fact that every child had an opportunity to have an education is truly what made the American dream attainable in the eyes of the world. However, as America moved forward in the 20th century and into the 21st century, education was not something that was highly funded. Furthermore, the gap between the poor and the rich is slowly widening. This is directly tied to education.

With deindustrialization during the 1970s and 1980s in America and the switch from blue collar to white collar jobs, the need for an educated work force is crucial. Now, 30 years after this deindustrialization, we realize America is not a place where citizens can graduate from high school and get a factory or blue collar job and have a nice life. America is losing its factories daily, and the only new jobs are for the educated.

After all the outsourcing in the past few decades, America is not a place that can outproduce all other nations to maintain our superiority.

Today, America is a place where the only way it can remain great is through creation, discovery and invention. We must create the newest forms of technology, such as iPods and iPads; discover the cures to diseases once thought to be incurable, such as polio and malaria; or invent the newest products that will change the face of the earth, like airplanes, wind-powered turbines and nuclear powered submarines. All these things are American creations. These are all things that have kept America great and were created by brilliant American thinkers.

However, the average American, who essentially drove the entire country, traditionally had work which did not require education or brilliance. This balance of classes âÄî of individuals âÄî is what kept the U. S. stable and prosperous. However, as we move into an economy that values ideas and research, there are fewer and fewer jobs the uneducated can perform, and that dire need for education becomes even more prevalent.

These smart, educated and innovative young people are a result of world-class education. This starts when kids are born, and it continues until they graduate from college. Going back to my teacherâÄôs statement that education is what creates the millions of jobs for Americans, education, particularly higher education, is AmericaâÄôs largest export. Furthermore, our officials seldom cut funding for our agricultural or technological exports, yet they do cut education. It is so imperative to fund our schools in order for America to produce the thinkers of the 21st century. Without these thinkers, America as we know it will cease to exist.

As a student I would like to see tuition decrease or at the least stay the same. However, I am aware that may not be possible. I am, however, asking the state to fund this great institution, because education is our greatest resource. It will be the only thing to keep us great. AmericaâÄôs largest export truly is education, because there are very few manual labor jobs available for the uneducated to take. We need to educate our citizens and keep our universities great if we want to be considered the greatest nation on earth. I urge citizens to take up the call and take action. Without the support of every citizen, the elected officials will make decisions about education which are not in the best interests of our society, and we will all suffer.