Can education alone lift people out of poverty?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Happybunny, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    From another thread:
    If that were the fact then the question IMO would not be how do I get my grand daughter in the one good school available to me, it would be instead, how can I help raise the quality of all our local public schools to give all of our children a quality education?

    This set me thinking.

    We all know that education is the key to making a successful career in the modern western world.
    But is it enough, most people I know used networking built up over years to progress. (Friends and family built up over years, which is normally not available to people living in poverty.)

    Taking a GAP year is also a very important aspect on the way to becoming an adult, getting out and seeing the world. (Having fun away from all the books)

    Getting a good internship, is hard enough, but most of the great ones are found through your own personal network, and are mainly non paying. Again this disadvantages the poorer student.

    Even after university the repayment of student loans, makes looking for work more about pay, than finding the work you really want to do.

    One of the Political Parties here D'66, are holding soon meetings to find ways of providing better support for all students.

    I do have some thoughts, but any ideas are welcome. I know that most of you are from the US, but this problem is international.:(
  2. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Jul 8, 2006
    Not just education alone but a higher wages across the board and a strong social safety net to go along with it.

    Education is one thing but having to slave away at a low-wage dead-end job after an education in order to survive also gets an individual nowhere. How can any person anywhere in the world move up in the social hierarchy if their employer pays a slave wage and they have to worry about where their next meal is coming from despite their education?

    Also, having a good network of people is an advantage. Again however, this is the result of having access to those very people. If the world of academia (where students gather despite their economic background) were made much more affordable and available to the masses, everyone would have a fair chance of meeting the right people to help advance them in their career path.

    As for taking a gap year, I think this is something many people need. Whether it's immediately after high school and before college, in college, or after college, it helps a person grow up and betters their understanding of the real world. In addition to a gap year, how about students having the choice of studying abroad easily available to them? Of course, this would fall under the better social safety net category.

    We in the United States have it tough when it comes to social mobility these days. Our social safety net and the compact our government made with the citizenry is broken. People have to take out a mortgage in order to go to school that only leaves them with debt by graduation. Then wages are low with typical post-college jobs. Unfortunately, our competition has become "who can do a job for less" rather than "who can do the job best".
  3. twietee macrumors 603


    Jan 24, 2012
    Your point about networking is interesting. I agree but would add that if you attend school and university etc. you're able to set up a small network yourself - so biringing poor people properly into these facilities and feed the thirst for knowledge (and succsess - whatever that means) sure is one of the first steps.

    Taking a gap year is part of education imho.

    But as sad as it sounds, you clearly need the right education if you want to go the 'easy and successful' route in a given society. I can say about Germany that the system is not open or permeable at all.
    It always amazes me for example when people from foreign cultures who fail miserable in tests highly developed and dependend onto 'our' culture or a different context/culture are considered stupid by large parts of the public.
  4. iStudentUK macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2009
    Education is vital for brining people out of poverty. My mother grew up in real poverty, but luckily my grandmother knew the value of education. My Mum was the first student in her school to go to university in 10 years.

    It didn't make her rich (sadly)! But it meant I grew up in an 'average' family - not poor but not rich.

    I won't pretend there wasn't an element of luck there too, I think there are too many factors to simply say education alone can bring someone out of poverty.

    I think networking is still a big deal. But IMHO there is 'good' and 'bad' networking.

    Good networking is, for example, showing an interest and going to talks. At uni all the big law firms would come and host evenings where they explained what they did and you got to speak to lawyers there (plus they had free food and drink at those evenings!). That's showing an interest and building relationships - no problem with that.

    Bad networking is things like nepotism, or a client saying how interested their friend is in working for you...

    In the UK most people apply for uni in their last year at school, but you can apply for 'deferred entry' ie - I want to start next year not this year. The uni I went to had a reputation for not always being keen on gap years. I didn't apply for deferred entry but someone else at my school did - they were told either come this year or not at all.
  5. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    Education and opportunity. In much of the US, there are tons of university graduates living with mom and pop. Tons of grads that don't have jobs, and tons more grads that have jobs but can't pay off their debt.

    Education, jobs, and other opportunities are necessary.
  6. 63dot, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013

    63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Education can be a part of the puzzle that helps lift people out of poverty. It is insane to think that education alone is all it takes.

    I still think most jobs are found through personal networking and not Craigslist or the want ads in a newspaper. For me education wasn't a requirement but just for the sake of learning I think my college degrees were good things and I wouldn't change a thing. More than getting one hired into a higher paying job, an education can make a more well rounded person and benefits in that regard are not always measured in dollars and cents. I got more money through skills I learned on the job that happened to have a high demand and low supply of workers and at trade schools targeted to strong fields (IT/high tech stuff).
  7. skottichan macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    Unno, from my POV it's definitely a skewed yes to the OP. My maternal grandmother was abandoned by my grandfather when my mom was 9, they grew up in poverty. Gramma worked as a receptionist for a local doctor, my mother and two uncles never starved, but clothing was either hand made or a hand me down. They had no car, Gramma walked to work every day, and a couple times they had to move in with my great grandparents.

    Fast forward 10 years, I'm born, Mom was abandoned by my biological father (an illegal immigrant from Scotland). I grew up poor, Mom and the man who adopted me (who loved me more than the man who help create me) were both low wage earners (Dad was a mechanic as a small shop, mom was a nurse's aid). I didn't starve, but I had little in the way of toys or new clothes. Sadly, the pressures of poverty led to my dad's suicide when I as 7.

    When I was 9, my gramma lost her job when the doctor she worked for retired. As a gift for her years of hard work, he paid for her education. She got her RN license and immediately got a well paying career at Mount Carmel Hospital.

    I was fortunate, I got to go to a private boarding school for high school (gramma's connections), and had enough scholarships that I was able to attend Ohio State where I received a Masters in Fine Art. Working in several art galleries, I made decent money, and I felt wealthy as compared to what I grew up with. Now, I have a BA in Graphic Design, I make a pretty nice salary and love what I do.

    My stepfather and I convinced my mom to go back to school where she excelled and then on to med school. She was a DO for a couple years before deciding her love was still with the elderly, so she now works as an Occupational Therapist.

    So long story short, from the experiences in my life, yes, education definitely helps lift people out of poverty.
  8. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012

    I grew up poor in one of the worst areas of Brooklyn, mostly living in poverty.

    Went to college, got my degree, started a company in Utah, sold it, made good money, joined the Army, became and officer, and now I design security systems for a top 10 bank.

    Now I am back in school working on a Chemical Engineering degree because I want a career in natural resources.

    If you work hard, and you are committed, and you have some money savvy, you will not be poor.

    We just need to come to terms with the notion that most people will fail and will serve burgers for a living. Not everyone has what it takes to be educated and have a skill that someone is willing to pay good money for.
  9. Beeplance macrumors 68000


    Jul 29, 2012
    The world is getting increasingly competitive nowadays. In my country, even university graduates with their degrees aren't guaranteed a job.

    The government needs to do their part in alleviating poverty as well. Education alone won't get you anywhere.
  10. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Can education alone lift people out of poverty?

    The question:

    "Can education alone lift people out of poverty?"

    There are two big problems with today's educational orthodoxy:

    1) Roughly 50% of humanity is really not college material. If today's jobs are only for people who are college material, that leaves 50% of people to do-- what?

    2) Even in a (virtual) world where virtually everybody is college material, no matter how well you educate everybody, 50% of them are still below average.

    "Society" has to have an economic "place" for the 50% of humanity that is below average. Is that "place" starving? Sitting at home on welfare watching TV all day? If neither, then, what?
  11. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Flipping burgers, retail, working at Starbucks, walmart shelf stockers, security guards, or low level labor.

    Don't like those jobs, learn to become college material, open your own business, or be able to sell some ability you possess in the arts or athletics.

    Society should not be the business or propping up a false economy by overpaying people for a job any high school dropout should be performing for minimum wage.
  12. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Of that 50% percent of people who are capable of college, how many want to go that route? And among those, how many could afford it.

    Most jobs will not require a college education of any sort/duration, and most grads will find themselves in jobs that don't require them anyway.
  13. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    My answer to the main question: "Can education alone lift people out of poverty"; is a strong NO.

    In order to get out of poverty there must also be an opportunity present that the person's education can help them take advantage of.

    I am a former Russian translator, a holder of 2 degrees(Education and Russian), I speak and am comfortable with English(primary), Russian, Spanish(my actual first language from living in Mexico as a child); and have elementary proficiency in Arabic.

    I have been unemployed since leaving the military in 2008 and have been attending school for my third degree in the hopes that I can get into Graduate school to eventually become a college professor or secondary education teacher.

    I have not been hired from numerous jobs due to my level of education and past experience. In most cases, I have been told that I am overqualified for the position and see it go to a freshman student with little to no experience in the field.

    I would say that education, while being one of the primary factors that can lead to the elevation of one's social and economic status, can also be one of the primary factors that prevents someone from escaping poverty.
  14. PracticalMac macrumors 68030


    Jan 22, 2009
    Houston, TX
    You can lead a horse to water....

    Just like getting out of bed, motivation and engagement.


    Ahhhhhh, the irony.

  15. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    Only if the "education" is in demand and the person is willing to do the work.

    The main problem is when people say "education" they are more referring to training for a workforce. Education is just a bargaining chip in today's society.
  16. Happybunny thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    One of the problems that has happened in past decades is the sheer numbers going to University, when I went in the 1960's only 20% of the population got a University education. Plus it was free for everybody.
    Today students enrol for courses which will not end up giving them employment, certain professions are full. But still nobody warns these students that even if they complete the course, there are no jobs.

    Students who have good networks have people who's ears are to the ground and can advise them about employment prospects.

    A GAP year is really important IMO, but I for one cannot think of a way of opening this to people in poverty.

    Choosing your education to suit your later needs in the economy, is one of the aspects of networking. Getting an ear to the ground about how the jobs market will be in future. To many students study for degrees which have very little practical use in the real world.

    You mostly find that if one member of a family find education important they will inspire others.
    Networking is like anything, it can be both good and bad. The point I was trying to make was that middle class and above, have an inbuilt advantage. One aspect is the advice students get before they apply to University. If you have a good network there will be people in it who can advise you on how the jobs market will be when you are really to join it.

    The GAP year was almost mandatory in the 1960's, the hippy road to India was full of GAP's.

    Nobody was saying that all it takes is an education, you also need a bit of luck, and I find that students with a good network have good luck.
    Networking is also important for issues like housing while at University. What ever people think a student who enters University is most likely to be away from home for the first time in their life, so any help is good.

    You are the poster child for a person who made something better out of your life. After life had given you some bad breaks. I for one cannot ever imagine what it must have been like. But I do notice that you Grandmother was given help, which she took full advantage of. What I find is if somebody in the family finds education important that will rub off to others. It obviously did with you, you used Grand mothers connections and made a better life for your self. Looking back I would imagine that you are proud of what you have achieved, plus you get to do work that you love.

    Governments can only do so much, one of the problems that we face is by a certain segment of the population, education is not seen as cool. Governments cannot create jobs, it was tried here in Europe in the 1970/1980.

    One of the major problem is that to many students are given very bad advise and end up with soft degrees, that are not of any use in the real world.

    Your problems are not about education so much as about the world economy 2008.

    One the major problems is that many students are given bad advise as to what type of job skills/degrees they will really need in the real economy.
  17. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I think it's a bigger issue than just schools and universities. Many of the baby boomers who 'made it' from disadvantaged backgrounds didn't make it through the educational route that is generally now seen as the way forward.

    They often joined large companies at say 15 or 16 at the bottom rung. But, and this is the huge but, the companies they joined had thriving apprenticeship and training schemes. Talent was recognised and developed in these schemes and promising individuals were fed into a structured career path. There was often day release schemes to the local technical college. These apprenticeships could take longer than a university degree.

    Here in the UK these have now pretty much all gone and the politicians solution of massively widening and increasing the provision of purely academic courses to try and plug the gap isn't delivering in the way that structured careers and decent training used to. Perhaps it's time for a rethink?
  18. Happybunny thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    I do think that you are right but as I have no experience of the system of apprenticeship, either personally or through friends, I didn't think it right to comment. On being a "Baby Boomer" however you can't shut me up, on how wonderful the 60s really were.:D

    Germany is the only country I know were the apprenticeship is still working well.:(
  19. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Jul 8, 2006

    How about thinking of this as a "study abroad" program? It can be included in the student's grant or scholarship money they receive for school. Or making a contract with qualifying students (those with good grades, etc.) to be allowed to take a gap year with a set amount of funds that will be paid back by working upon their return?

    Here in the US, we have what is called a "Pell Grant", named after the senator that proposed the grant for students who need help paying for tuition and other school-related expenses. The grant is typically paid to the school in the student's name and if there is any funds left over, the remainder is given to the student as a cash refund. It's thought that the students use this money to pay for the "other school-related expenses" and many do, however, there is no restriction as to what the student can use for the money for.
  20. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Education is clearly important but the term "education" here is too broad.

    We need to shift away from the old style academic education and towards more education programs that teach the students actual skills that they can use in their jobs.

    Too many students now are going to college and learning a bunch of crap that's completely useless when it comes to actually getting a job.
  21. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    They have schools that do that, its called vocational colleges.
  22. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    Yes it is, and the rest of the world need to take a look..


    There are few of them and they do not work as well as the apprenticeship. America used to have an alternative it way called the Labor Union ya know the folks that built the country from '48 to '80. they trained and brought up young men and women through the skill levels. They created skilled well paid artisans at no cost to the companies they worked for much like NCO's do for the military. Alas a skilled blue collar work force was too expensive for American companies. I mean how would CEO's and MBA's get their raises if we didn't ship labor overseas after all they are the ones that have real value. :rolleyes:
  23. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    This is only partially true because you simply added another component to your argument. I answered your question that education was not enough and used my experiences as an example. Your original question though was based solely on education and implied a stable economic environment.
  24. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Perhaps there is an alternative, considering all that I have read about shortages in a number of skilled labor positions (despite the economic downturn). If the majority of people are working "entry-level" service jobs at or near minimum wage, the U.S. will start to look like Calcutta. Nothing in the Constitution requires that we allow that to happen, no matter what Mitt Romney says.

    I agree with you. There is no point in someone who is academically below average pursuing academics (except out of intense interest). There are lots of other types of jobs out there for the non-academically inclined.

    That is one thing that I would like to discover -- why it still works well there and why it doesn't work well elsewhere. Post-WWII, it used to work well all over.

    Strictly speaking, we/they did pay for it when we paid the union plumber, and the electrician, and the welder, and so on. But, I understand your point completely. I think we can get back to a workable system.
  25. Happybunny thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    I was watching a BBC programme, some children I guess about 12yrs old were asked what they wanted to be. Most had ideas/dreams about becoming a doctor, or a farmer, and one wanted to be a painter. But there were three two girls and one boy who wanted to be famous, not for doing any thing but just for being famous.(Like the Kardashians) :eek:

    This is one of the points I would like to change, I believe that to many students get very bad advice on what courses and degrees to aim for. I really believe that students have to be given the full facts, about their prospects of gaining employment before they decide which courses they take.
    I mean even when economy was doing well, there are just too many architect's in the Netherlands. But universities were still producing even more, 2008 and the bubble burst, and most will never get a job as an architect.

    While this is true, if there had not been a financial meltdown in 2008, your education would have counted for far more than it does now.

    The roots of this problem goes back to the 1980's when Reagen and Thatcher moved the economies of the US/UK from manufacturing industry to a financial/service industry. In time nearly all countries of western Europe had followed suit, the main exception was Germany.

    This is a fantastic idea, I am not sure if we can set it up exactly the same , but the idea does look interesting.

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