John Florez: Is college only for a select few?

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  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    July 14, 2013 7:38 p.m.

    What I'm saying here folks is that a college education today is the equivalent of the high school education of yesteryear. Don't sire a bunch of kids if you don't intend to pay for their educations. Why should my college educated children have to build the roads that your uneducated children (who could not make it alone and received no help from you) drive on in the future?

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 14, 2013 6:11 p.m.

    We now have the radical entitled left demanding free college education.

    I say earn it for yourself. You are not entitled take out my pocket for anything you want, no matter how good your intentions are.

    True value to society comes from earning something not being given something.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    July 14, 2013 3:38 p.m.

    I recently put a couple sons through good engineering schools and I can say that you cannot work 40 hours a week, or even 15 hours a week and compete with the brightest kids in the world (many of who's educations are being paid for by their home governments).

    The attitudes of Mike Richards and others posting here are not only out of touch, but if widely held by Americans, will result in our country's total demise as a competitive nation.

    We need to find ways to insure that more American children are receiving first-rate educations at top universities, no matter the cost. I was willing to foot the cost of two engineering degrees which resulted in two American kids contributing to our country's future. I expect other American parents to step up and do the same.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 14, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    I do like most of Mike Richards' postings and am in confluence with his view in this thread that "education" does not necessarily make for social progress, but may I respectfully point out the common error repeated in a recent post that Edison invented the light bulb.

    I repeat that which I have often read: that Edison produced a marketable version of the incandescent bulb that others had been developing. This was, I believe, an example of Edison's practical genius and hard work. I believe the company that produced the Edison bulb was the "Swan Edison" company which credited Joseph Swan for his existing part in the development of the electric light bulb

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 14, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    This article, like many articles, appears to postulate that going to college makes people or generations great - an odd precept. Somewhere along the line, in this article, that belief got connected with the concept of "the greatest generation" so called because Tom Brokaw called it that and many people liked and repeated the term. The most I have ever made of this concept is that, if you were part of the generation that was dragged into WW2, you were great. Unfortunate perhaps, but great? I don't know; I empathize with them though and respect the endurance of many.

    Education becomes more and more expensive when it becomes more in demand; it has become very much in demand and very expensive. This "success" seems to be based on the belief that somehow "education" is that golden key to success it is so often portrayed to be.

    In today's sad unemployment generation that view must generate increasing scepticism. I hope people are able to find the skills, degree, trade, or entrepreneurial talent, the insight into what the market most needs, to come out of this depressing recession.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2013 12:45 a.m.

    RE: Mike Richards I completely agree with Florez on this one. Consider that the present Federal debt load was run up by the U.S. Federal government rescuing banks, Wall Street, and a variety of private businesses. These private business interests didn't turn down any of the money "on principle." Now, Mr Richards, you gave us quite a lecture on value. How do the values of rescuing the business and banking community compare with that of higher education for the mass of students? I contend they are roughly equal because the business rescue saved industrial and financial capital, whereas higher education builds human capital. They are equal.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 13, 2013 10:59 p.m.


    "Edison had very little formal education as a child, attending school only for a few months. He was taught reading, writing, and arithmetic by his mother, but was always a very curious child and taught himself much by reading on his own. This belief in self-improvement remained throughout his life." (biography of Thomas Edison)

    Yes, if we are teachable, we learn from those who have lived before us. Ask any teacher how many of their students "excelled" in solving society's problems. I asked four relatives that question today at a family reunion. Those four relatives all retired after teaching at least 25 years each. They all said that that had had many good students, but none of their students found a cure for cancer or a solution to our energy problems None of their students wrote a formula that would produce peace in the Middle East. They all agreed that society's problems have greatly increased during their lifetimes, not diminished. Wouldn't we expect that educated people would decrease society's problems? Wouldn't we expected that homes would be happier. That few children would rebel and that crime would diminish? Why isn't that happening?

  • trueblue87 Provo, UT
    July 13, 2013 10:37 p.m.

    This isn't a one size fits all issue. People leave college without graduating for different reasons not just cost. Some leave because they find a job they love doing that doesn't require a college education, some leave because they start a family and would rather stay at home, some leave because college isn't as easy as they were expecting and yes some do leave because of financial reasons. This doesn't mean we should tax the people more to reduce college costs. I agree that college is expensive. Believe me I have been paying my way through school. But I wouldn't trade the work experience and life experience I have gained from balancing church, school, work, social life, etc. for a free ride on the backs of the tax payers.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 13, 2013 2:25 p.m.

    To Mike Richards:

    You just made my point for me. Thanks!

    Yes, Edison and Einstein solved key problems and WE ALL BENEFITED from their "education" far beyond the value to them of that education. Thus, gratefully, both these men were encouraged to get more education and benefited from the knowledge and education of those that went before them. Both the men you mentioned benefited from the work of Descartes, Newton and others who went before them, and could not have achieved what they did without the collective knowledge that had previously been discovered.

    My point was basic: we all benefit from the education and increased productivity of others, by definition, an "externality". Whenever there are positive externalities, the market will drive less than desired allocation of resources to these activities, and therefore subsidies will help move the market toward the optimal level. It's just Economics 101.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 13, 2013 12:41 p.m.


    I paid $1,100 dollars per semester for tuition, books, car-pool expenses, and self-packed lunches. I made $1.10 per hour in wages. So I worked 1,000 hours to pay for the costs per semester. As you can see, that meant that I worked all summer at fifty-hours per week as well as the rest of the year at reduced hours to pay for the costs. With over $7.00 being the minimum wages today, a student working 2,000 hours per year and going to school full time, like I did, would have $14,000 to work with, less taxes.


    Individuals solve problems. Groups of individuals solve bigger, more complex problems. Yes, society benefits, as a whole, when its people are well trained to solve those problems, but "society" doesn't solve problems, people do. Society did not develop the "special theory of relativity", Einstein did. Society did not invent the light bulb, Edison did. "Society" can talk about problems that need to be solved, but individuals in that society do the work required to solve those problems. I may be picking nits, but there is a difference.

  • Tenn12 Orem, UT
    July 13, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    Sorry Mr Richards. Working 20 hrs a week at a grocery store and paying for school is not possible today. I am currently attending school and have worked part time and full time while going to school. You cannot pay tuition even at byu working 20 hours a week at the grocery store. Times have changed since you were in school and part of the blue collar workforce. Your post was really out of touch.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 13, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    "If today's children are to become the "greatest generation" they have to work and sacrifice for their country just as hard as the men and women who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan did and are doing."

    Huh? So we're supposedly to mindlessly serve in and support completely illegal and immoral wars? Literally, every single war you listed post WWII was completely unnecessary. Many of which, illegal. When did Congress ever declare war on Vietnam? Why could we invade Iraq? They never attacked us.

    @ Mike Richards

    Mike, how much did you pay per semester for tuition? Books? How much was your rent? How much did you family hand out to you?

    How many in state vs out of state/international students was BYU taking in at that time? What program were you trying to get into? Did it require experience?

    Trying to compare the BYU and education system of 30+ years ago to today is a poor way to win an argument. Today, it's much more competitive and expensive. True, schools are in it for profit. But are they too much into profit rather than education?

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    July 13, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    Economically challenged students can get their education paid for easily enough, through government grants and scholarships.

    I had 2 roommates who got need based grants for their education. The rest of my roommates had families pay, or self pay, or they had earned scholarships for good grades or other activities they had participated in during high school. The ones who got the grants got C's and D's and the rest of us got A's and B's. We were all smart enough, but those who worked harder got better grades.

    I guess those that see the sacrifice, of themselves or others close to them, for them to go to school, work harder at it. Go figure.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 13, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    I think valuing children is lip service when we continue to put them in classes of over 30 students in elementary and often over 40 students in secondary classes. The argument of valuing education and properly preparing students for higher education starts and stops there.

  • Ronald Mortensen Bountiful, Utah
    July 13, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    There is a huge difference between providing a GI bill for people who give up years of their lives in the service of their country (at extremely low pay) and providing free grants to young people who do nothing of similar consequence to earn them.

    If today's children are to become the "greatest generation" they have to work and sacrifice for their country just as hard as the men and women who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan did and are doing.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 13, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    Mr. Florez is focused on the wrong segment of the education problem. The problem is not underfunded colleges/universities, but unprepared students. We (parents, our primary and secondary schools, and students themselves) are collectively failing to have students ready for college level work. This creates a huge burden, mainly on those students who are least prepared (and typically least able to afford extra remedial classes in college). If you want to increase access to post-secondary education, fix the elementary and secondary school system. We need better preparation in math, science and writing/communication which will take better trained teachers, better motivated students/parents, fewer students per class, and higher expectations from all for performance. Throwing more money at a broken system with unmotivated students will just be more money flushed down the toilet.

    To Mike Richard: I generally agree with your central point, though disagree with your supporting argument. Some of the value of education does not accrue to the individual, but to society generally, i.e. there are positive externalities to someone being educated. Because of this, some level of subsidies makes economic sense, as individuals will otherwise under-invest in education if strictly following market incentives.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 13, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    I'm very sorry, but I totally disagree with Mr. Florez. Students in Utah get a "free" education until they graduate high school. If they've applied themselves, they will be qualified to enter college. How they pay for college is up to them. College is a business run by people who expect to make a profit. Tuition reflects the cost of running that business. If college has "value", then the person receiving that "value" should be expected to pay the cost of obtaining that "value". If the person receiving that "value" has to pay the expenses himself, he will learn to value that education. He will value the time that he spends at that college and he will value the effort that he expends to obtain that education.

    I worked in a grocery store from 2:30 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. five days a week. At 8:00 a.m., I carpooled to BYU. At 7:00 p.m., I carpooled home from BYU. At 10:00 p.m. I went to bed. At 2:00 a.m., I got up and started the routine all over again. Working did not hurt; it helped.

  • twells Ogden, UT
    July 13, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    We do value our children . You can not make others share your values. Children must have a deep desire to get an education. It is hard to understand that there are many people who simply do not value education. It is not about money anymore. It is about commitment, the inate desire to improve yourself. As a former teacher I realized there is a percentage of people who really have a desire to learn. Some can be persuaded to value education-the rest simply are not interested.