Access to Tools that Expanding Educational Background
Education is the most important and fundamental aspect of a person’s life. Education is also forever changing and evolving to better suit the needs of those in school and prepare them for life, however that looks during that time period. One thing that will almost always stay the same is that schooling requires money; whether that be from the families, state, or someone that wants to help that is able. Many people throughout the years have felt it was their job and duty to help make education possible and better, such as the many educational philanthropists throughout history. Two that I’ve decided to look further into, to see how things have changed from the past to the present, are Andrew Carnegie and Jeff Bezos.
It is safe to assume that everyone knows the name Andrew Carnegie from their history classes, I know that is what first popped into my head when I saw his name on the list of philanthropists. I never knew much about his educational background or his involvement in education. Carnegie was born in Scotland and moved to the United States with his family in 1848 due to financial problems. He had a formal education in Scotland but once he moved to the United States that stopped because he was put to work. Carnegie loved to read though, and that is how he learned, through books. In the town where he lived a man named Colonel James Anderson opened his library to the local working boys to use and Andrew jumped at that opportunity. When he grew up his first big success was in the railroad companies and he eventually owned Carnegie Steel Corporation, which is what everyone knows him for. What most people do not know is that he started his philanthropic work in roughly 1870. He believed that wealthy people should use enough money to provide for their families moderately and use the rest of it to promote the welfare and happiness of others. After 20 years of owning the steel company he decided to sell it and he practiced what he preached by using his riches to invest in the education of children.
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Carnegie believed that having access to books and having the desire to learn meant anyone could educate themselves on any topic and be successful as he had done. He stated that the advantage of a library is that it gives nothing, the youth must acquire knowledge themselves. Also, being an immigrant himself, he believed that newcomers to the United States needed to gain cultural knowledge which they could receive through reading. With these beliefs in mind he founded 2,509 libraries, 1,679 of which were located in the United States. He even went a step further to help that outside of the United States by giving roughly 10,000,000 dollars to establish the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. This trust gave free tuition to all qualified Scottish students at four of the leading universities in the country as well as ensuring the opportunity for scientific research and study in all four universities was improved and expanded. Carnegie clearly not only cared about the education of American children but also the education of children around the globe.
Those that agree with Andrew Carnegie and the things he did say that his philanthropy fundamentally reshaped colleges and universities which gained them a major role in American society. He said that traditional colleges offered no value to students, employers, or society. In response to that he funded two new types of institutions that had emerged; one that offered a technical and vocational education and one that was an elite German-style university. Although, there were plenty of people who disagreed with Carnegie and other philanthropists during this time period. Many of them tried to minimize or diminish Carnegie’s role in reforming higher education, and others have said that his charitable giving was simply a contest with Rockefeller. To me his efforts to change schooling and modernize it shows that he cared about students getting a worthwhile education that would benefit them throughout their entire lives and used his money to make his hopes for education a reality.
A more recent educational philanthropist that has been helping out with education is Jeff Bezos. Bezos was born in 1964 in New Mexico and moved to Miami with his mother and stepfather when he was a teenager. School was definitely his strong suit, graduating valedictorian of his high school and summa cum laude from Princeton University. High school was where he started his first business known as the Dream Institute which was an educational summer camp for children in 4th and 5th grade. His love and talent for starting businesses continued and eventually lead to the creation of Amazon in 1994.
Education has seemingly always been something Bezos excelled at and cared about which makes it no surprise that he decided to invest in education. He announced that he would be spending two million dollars to help the homeless and expand early-childhood education in low-income communities.