As many of you know by now, Jake Ford did his media debut on Monday. On the same day, Sen. Steve Cohen addressed the College Democrats at the
Jake Ford’s GED and his unsuccessful college stints have opened the door to a fair amount of criticism. While I respect him for at least getting a GED, I wonder what has kept him for pursuing higher education. He is bright and articulate, and has a role model to follow in his older brother, who attended an Ivy League School for undergrad and went on to graduate with a JD from one of the most prestigious law schools in the country. So what’s the hold up?
I have many friends with GEDs. I also have many friends who did not finish college for one reason or another. Some of them were faced with a financial burden that, at that age, they were unable to sustain. Many of them dropped-out because they were young and irresponsible, and wasted their opportunities away. However, most of them regret not finishing their degrees and would like to go back to college but they can’t because they can’t afford it. They can’t afford to leave their bill-paying jobs for a degree that no longer ensures them the possibility of a better future. Nevertheless, many people fight against the odds and go back to school and finish their degrees. Among these people we find single mothers, people that struggle financially, people that have been out of school for years, and all sort of untraditional students that manage to beat the obstacles one way or another to accomplish their goals.
Jake Ford was evidently in the position that his will to go back to school could have been financially backed up by his family, and yet he chose not to. I can understand him being proud of having a GED and that he has had a good run at in his father’s company, but how is that an accomplishment?
Education is the cornerstone of democracy and better society. His disdain for higher education bothers me, as he does not seem to understand the severity of this issue. Students are troubled not only by the rising cost of college tuition and the prospect of a unstable job market, but also with the notion that pursuing this ideal means for many having to repay a debt almost well into retirement.
There is a broader economic impact to be considered as well. Educational loans do not stimulate the economy, so it is in the nation best interest to provide financial assistance to these students to ensure that their future earnings are not tied up in endless debts, but are instead invested in their future as saving accounts, health insurance, retirement plans, so on and so forth. Steve Cohen understands these principles and has fought fiercely for many years to make education accessible for those who value higher education.
At the College Democrats’ meeting, the students were asked how many of them were on the Hope scholarship, which is financed through the Tennessee Lottery. I would say that 40 to 60 percent of the students present raised their hands, and thanked Sen. Cohen for making that possible.
The difference is clear. On one side, we have a man that has fought for the educational dreams of students in