Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders are the two leading horses in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton’s campaign recently released its “New College Compact” to curb debt incurred by college students. However, staunch advocates for Sanders remain skeptical about Hillary’s plan in comparison to the elementary plan provided by her opponent.
From his entrance into the presidential race, Sanders has identified himself as a democratic socialist, citing the education systems of Denmark and Sweden as examples that the United States should emulate. But the radical idea that higher education past K-12 is a public good is more idealistic than realistic. The United States’ higher education system is dependent on incentive for hard work. Many public colleges reward students regardless of socioeconomic status based on their work ethic in high school. Viewing a university education as a public good removes the incentive to upkeep academic rigor in earlier education in hopes of earning scholarships to attend university.
Garrett Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” theory is often used to explain the degradation of publicly accessible goods. Similar to how common land would be overgrazed, one can argue that the liberation from economic accountability will lead to the deterioration of the American higher education system. Sanders’s simple plan hits a roadblock.
Although Sanders’s campaign has commended Clinton’s “New College Compact” as a “step in the right direction,” the campaign has expressed disinterest in Clinton’s inclusion of expanding the work-study program. The inclusion of the work-study program, however, keeps in American capitalistic spirit.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s statistics on patent applications, the United States receives five times as many patent applications as those of the whole Europe. Now you have to decide between changing the American education system to emulate those of European Socialist states and buttressing those in need while keeping incentive.
Sathvik Palakurty is a freshman majoring in chemistry.
Feature photo courtesy Pixabay user cleverdesigner