Could More Mean Less?

Lexy Schmieder


Could more education mean less poverty? Through education, we learn from the past and create the future with innovation and adaptation. We can solve complex world problems and improve the lives of not only ourselves but of the entire population. The fact of the matter is there are people living on the streets in our own cities that need help, and although they may lack the same human capital the many others have, that does not make them any less of a person. The educated are able to help those living on the streets, who most likely are the people that are not educated. Encouraging and providing education to all children will help solve poverty in America, and around the world.

In America, the poverty rate of high school dropouts is a whopping 30.8% [1]. This is a massive number and shows a big difference when compared to their counterparts with high school diplomas who have only a 24% poverty rate.[2] These dropouts have trouble both finding and keeping stable jobs, as well as most likely live in low-income areas filled with crime, if they live anywhere at all. Dropouts have an incarceration rate of 63%, which is another factor that hurts their ability to find a job.[3] Their problems not only drain resources but also make it harder for them to contribute to the economy. According to Charles Whelan (in response to why there are so many people in poverty that are unable to find jobs) “the underlying problem is a lack of skills”.[4] This makes sense -they don’t have the skills they need  to succeed at life due to their lack of education, so they do not succeed at life. However, even if homeless people, or dropouts in general, don’t have the skills that many in the rest of the country have, they are still workers, and able to contribute the economic growth. If these able-bodied laborers are not contributing to the economy but have the capability to do so, then we are practicing bad economics. If we are to maximize our utility as a country and achieve our full potential, then we need to make sure that everyone not only has a job but has the skill necessary to live a fruitful and meaningful life. And the route to success starts in school and providing the proper and adequate education.

In the end, we as a society must come to a conclusion. We cannot continue to simply “bus” the homeless somewhere else. Not only does this make a problem for another city, but it also dehumanizes the people that are actually struggling to simply find a meal every day. Whether we like it or not, they are a part of our community, and should be treated as such. We need to encourage education, as well as passion and drive, to all students. And most importantly, we need to give them the tools to get where they want to go- such as education, training, and encouragement. And that starts with educating our youth. If we encourage children to continue school at least through high school, we can change the lives of thousands of people, including the next generation of children. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world” [5]


[1] Breslow, Jason. “FRONTLINE.” PBS. Accessed June 20, 2016.

[2] “11 Facts About Education and Poverty in America.” Accessed June 22, 2016.

[3] Breslow, Jason. “FRONTLINE.” PBS. Accessed June 20, 2016.

[4] Wheelan, Charles J. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science. New York: Norton, 2010. 130

[5] “10 Inspiring Quotes That Explain the Importance of Education …” Inspiration on Allwomenstalk. N., 2013. Web. 18 June 2016.

6 “A homeless man sits on a bench with a cup of chili that he received from the Salvation Army in Washington.” Digital image. December 9, 2008.



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