By Chancellor Bernie Patterson
A recent Pew Research Center poll showed nearly 60 percent of Republican and conservative-leaning independents view colleges as having a negative influence on America. Meanwhile, about three-quarters of Democrats and liberal independents say America's institutions of higher learning have a positive impact. While I have no reason to dispute these findings, I wonder whether framing them in a partisan manner is useful.
As the chancellor of this 123-year-old institution, I can vouch for the positive impact UW-Stevens Point has on this community, current students and graduates. The university prepares future employees and taxpayers, community leaders and volunteers, provides entertainment through arts and athletics, insight through faculty lectures and learning opportunities. I view these as civic goods, not partisan issues.
Education certainly benefits each individual student, from primary school through college or technical training. In so doing, it also benefits the public good.
Those with more education are more likely to:
- Be employed in a meaningful career
- Earn a higher wage
- Be engaged civically
- Be healthier
- Be happier