Two hundred years ago higher education was a luxury reserved principally for wealthy male members of the aristocracy. Gradually, over the generations, admittance to college became less restrictive as manufacturing replaced agriculture as the dominant economic force, and families gravitated to towns and immigrants to cities where factories flourished, and the necessity and value of an education came to be almost universally accepted.
Besides a nation's diversity and extent of its natural resources there similarly is a correlation between the numbers and levels of educated adults in a given society and the standard of living within that country. Nowhere is this more evident than in the United States, where education is as much a part of the American dream as is the goal of home ownership. For decades the federal government has encouraged academic achievement through a myriad of programs, ranging from guaranteed student loans and work study to veterans' breaks and military ROTC internships.
And for years real progress was made toward educating the populace as a government extended and added to a smorgasbord of highly beneficial loan and grant programs, until, that is, the advent of Ronald Reagan, the most uneducated President of modern times.
Indeed, every budget Reagan has submitted to Congress has been a not so subtle attempt to make it far more difficult for lower to middle-class Americans to obtain an education. And this year is certainly no different.