Tuesday, September 22, 2009

White Working Class Goes to College

Floyd Ciruli, my father, dropped out of the 4th grade of Pleasant View Grade School in Pueblo County. He was always very proud he could read the Pueblo Chieftain and do basic numbers for his business, Ciruli Oil.

I graduated from law school, representing a total of 19 years of formal education, plus numerous graduate classes for various purposes.

The Cirulis weren’t unique. Although my father was in the 4th grade in 1910, even by 1940, 75 percent of adults were high school drop outs (or never made it) and only 5 percent graduated with a 4-year college degree.

In 2007, only 14 percent of the population lacked a high school diploma and 29 percent have a 4-year college degree or higher (54 percent, or half the population, have a degree or some college education).

Although we endlessly want to lower our drop out rate and improve our college graduation rate, we need to recognize how far we have come in mass high school and college education in a couple of generations and half a century.

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