Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, September 3, 1999


Star-Bulletin file photo
This photograph shows happy University of Hawaii graduates
in 1956. Not insignificantly, they are all women, although the
original caption went to great pains to point out their
differing ethnic backgrounds.

Higher education no longer
restricted to the elite

Info Box Education has always been the crucible of democracy in the United States, where an informed electorate creates a better citizen. This is fundamentally different from other nations, which consider education as a long-term investment in their financial health.

The basic educational tools of the founding fathers, however, stopped at elementary school. "Higher" education was for the elite.

In the 20th century, however, education shifted from a balance of both doing and thinking to a more rigorously abstract academic regime; by the end of the century, vocational schools were rarer than private schools.

By World War II, a "high" school education was considered part of a citizen's entitlement from the government. After the war, a basic college education was considered the minimum to enter the work force. More teen-agers now have advanced degrees than at any time in history -- and fewer than ever considered voting in national elections.


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