Melissa Harris Perry teaches why education matters

Jayne Matthews Hopson | 1/17/2014, 6 a.m.
Poor Melissa Harris-Perry, she tried to make a Fox News style joke and it failed miserably. Education Matters kicks off ...

This absoluteness is not true of most things we assume and hold dear. These “rights” are all bound up in our sense of freedom and directly connected to the ability to fulfill our destiny. In most states if convicted of a felony, your right to vote will be taken away. A driver’s license, as every parent has explained to their teenager is a privilege, not a right. It can be revoked if the rules of safety are not followed. Passports can be confiscated for any number of reasons, and take months of red tape to get it back.

While attaining tenured professorship is a major accomplishment, it is not the lifetime guarantee of university employment you may think it is. Though rare, in “certain instances, professors have lost their tenure due to misconduct.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, an average of 50 college professors have their tenure revoked each year.”

By this calculus Dr. Harris-Perry armed with several degrees doesn’t have as much to lose as it first appears. The foundation for her current station in life was laid with an undergraduate degree in English from prestigious Wake Forest University. No matter how foolish the comment, embarrassing the on-air apologies or self-serving the social media mea culpa, she has covered her bases. None of the colleges she graduated from are going to call saying they’re taking back her degrees.

Melissa Harris-Perry just learned a hard lesson with the soft landing an Ivy League education gives its alumni. She should be forgiven and allowed to move on— maybe to something bigger and better. In terms of our own lives, all children will make mistakes, say stupid things or exercise bad judgment at some point. In 2014, every parent should make the sincere commitment to give their kids the best insurance policy against life’s ups and downs— an education that helps them achieve the highest possible level of academic achievement.

Jayne Matthews Hopson writes about education matters, because “only the educated are free.”