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Our Opinion: An emphasis on the value of education

Our Opinion: An emphasis on the value of education

News Tribune editorial

December 8th, 2013 in News

A former businessman, the president of the University of Missouri System believes in his product - education.

Tim Wolfe, who leads the four-campus system, is in the midst of what may be characterized as a promotional tour, the "Show Me Value Tour," to highlight the importance of higher education. (See the "Perspective" in the column at right).

Tour stops are Missouri middle schools, including visits with community and business leaders. Last week, he visited California Middle School, followed by a stop at our News Tribune office.

Wolfe said the tour is not a recruitment effort; continuing enrollment growth negates the need to "sell" a University of Missouri education to prospective students.

Instead, the president's objective is to counter a growing sentiment that student debt and declining job placements have rendered a college education undesirable, unnecessary, or both.

"By any measure - income, prosperity, health - a college education has a profound effect on an individual, which in turn can provide a tremendous boost to our communities, culture and state as a whole," Wolfe said.

To support his claims, he cites data that: college graduates will earn nearly twice as much as high school graduates; and college graduates enjoy healthier lives and greater longevity.

In addition, Wolfe said a college education allows students to discover their talents, hone their strengths, think creatively and learn to work in teams, which are skills needed in today's workforce, regardless of the job.

Those skills extend well beyond the job site and encompass overall quality of life. The ability to analyze and scrutinize varying assertions and opinions, to establish reasonable strategies and goals, and to imagine possibilities are valuable assets in all aspects of life.

We believe learning is a lifelong activity. And we believe a structured environment - in elementary, secondary and higher education institutions - prepares people to learn from the full spectrum of life experiences.

The value of education to enhance a person's enjoyment and quality of life cannot be overstated.