The Freedom to Self Educate

Nothing is ever free in the world, but the cost of intellectual information is so high that American students are not even allowed to use such important pieces of research until college.  We limit our society to have access to only a small fraction of the import studies done to create educated debates and many citizens only can rely on the information given in newspapers and on the television.  Personally, I knew very little about researching for a paper until my freshman year of college.  The use of JSTOR and other databases was never accessible to me during high school, so I had to limit my searches to newspapers, a few free journals, and books.  This was fine for me in high school, but as soon as I handed in my first college paper I was criticized for my lack of education resources.  I had to change every style of researching I once knew and this was no easy task. 

This information can never be complete free, but it needs to be cheaper than it is now.  Charging a school $50,000 for full access to one website is outrageous and creates problems for researchers after they finish their education to have access to these databases.  As more and more lawsuits are being handed out by major research databases, the public now has to fear how they can use these sources and not to stockpile articles.  In this day in age, we should not limit the amount one can learn.  To limit the nation from only a select amount of information is just another way to keep people divided.  The upper class is able to access this information and stay informed and better them, but people less fortunate cannot access these sites because of financial restrictions.  Many cannot not afford the rising prices of a college degree, but this does not mean they are not driven to learn, but financially cannot accomplish furthering their education.  To keep the lower class uninformed and undereducated is a technique that has been around for years.  To have the lower class revolt against the upper would be like a scene from the Great Revolution in France, but probably unlikely.  We cannot continue dividing the rich and poor and allowing the few to better themselves while others are strategically left out. 

Who knows what would happen if databases like JSTOR become accessible to the public.  It may change nothing what so ever, but at least the information is out there for anyone.  We need to level out the playing field for Americans so if one wants to achieve the “American Dream” they can attempt to do so with the proper tools to success.  

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