Much of the problem seems rooted in a misunderstanding of the question
of who benefits from education. If we adopt the captialist discourse,
it would follow that the person who benefits from a service should pay
for it as an investment against future rewards (better job etc.) Even
if this discourse is generally correct (a big if), it presumes that
the individual student is the main benefactor of education. The
benefits to society as a whole of having a more educated populace as a
whole are not even considered. If they were, it would follow that
society as a whole ought to help pay.
Unfortunately, "as-a-whole" benefits are extremely difficult to
measure, and are also too long-term to fit the current political
climate (ie., the benefits will not be realized until after the next
In addition, the current climate is to move from a focus on the whole
to a focus on the individual, delegitimating the "benefit to society
as a whole" argument before it has begun.