Saturday, September 26, 2015

looking ahead

Ranting on this again because it's on my mind. To me, the future of our country is about future generations being raised up ready to take over. What are we doing to make that happen? Are we only educating the wealthy to be in that position-- a generation of oligarchs ruling over peasants?

For those who are worried that Bernie Sanders might win the election and do what he said he wants to do, I suspect you have nothing to worry about. The number of citizens who will vote for him probably aren't enough to even get him the nomination. The people in this country worried about a student (or the poor) getting money from them appears to outweigh concerns with wars we don't need, likewise weapon systems that we only need if we want wars around the world.

Bernie may not be able to win but I wish Americans would think long and hard on his proposals, such as regarding college tuition being paid by the government. This is NOT a partisan issue. It's a cultural one.

Did you know that Washington State Universities will have their tuition cut by 20% this year and it's a Republican legislature that drove it to happen. Who do you suppose that helps? The middle class. 

Concern over college getting so costly is all about the middle class, who are the ones being cut out of having their youth get educations beyond high school. $26,316 for three terms this year will be what an OSU undergraduate will be charged:

Tuition and fees: $10,000+
Books: $1950+
Housing and food: $11,874+
Misc: $2400.
On one of the right wing talk shows, I listened to the guy from Washington as he discussed why he did what he did and fought Democrats in Washington to get the reduction. He understood it. The poor get grants. The rich can afford those costs. The ones being priced out of college are from middle class working families.

I've mentioned before that when I went to college, I could pay my tuition by cleaning an office building one day a week. My husband paid for his by working at a dairy during his week-ends. Part time work could do it. Anybody who believes that is the case today is not paying a lot of attention to minimum wage and how hard it would be to earn $26,000 a year to go to college. Then if the kids borrow, the interest rates currently are 4.29% (down from when it used to be 8%) but it is calculated from the date the loan is taken out. So while elders like my husband and I earn maybe .5% interest on our savings, the banks aren't passing that benefit onto the students. You can buy a car at 0% interest and pay it off within three years to keep it 0% but our future generations-- pffft, no investment we want to make as a culture.

There are those on the right and left who understand how important higher education is to innovation and growth. They understand that if Germany, Sweden and five other countries not only don't charge their kids tuition but would let American kids come there to go to school, at no tuition, they value education. Why don't we? Or do we want to become a servant nation with the bulk of our population knowing how to grow food or sweep our floors?

This nation was built by those who valued education. Schools were one of the first things that communities made sure were built right alongside churches. My parents taught me how important it was to work hard in school and go to college. They only had eighth grade educations but they both read and they pushed their kids to work in school. They knew it mattered and they drilled it into me-- as my husband and I drilled it into our children, who now drill it into their children. 

Americans need to get it together that there are some things worth investing in—the future generations should be at the top of the list. Sure, I wouldn’t let just any kid go to college, one who didn’t get good grades in school should be in a trade school, those who want to learn a trade should equally be encouraged to those schools-- nothing bad about a good, solid trade-- but for those who want a college education, who have worked hard, they should know the way is open for them. It will give them motivation to work when they know it can take them somewhere. 

This isn't a gift or if it is, it is to repay the benefits we received from those years when college was affordable for the middle. It still won’t be free. Tuition is less than half the cost. But it will be more feasible for kids like I was to believe they could do it. 

To make this work will also take some monitoring of the universities to be sure their dollars are going into education not an overabundance of deans, advisers, and administration. A lazy people don’t want to monitor the system, make sure it's being fair and farsighted. A lazy people will get a future generation worthy of it.

The ones whining about paying tuition don't seem have any problem with a budget that is 57% military with a lot of weapon systems that don't even work out. They don't mind subsidizing big corporations or  giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest. They don't mind being run by oligarchs. They also will get a future generation worthy of it... except I want better for my grandkids. A lot of Republicans feel the same way. Those elders, who don't get it, should get educated as to why having kids get more education will in the end be good for them. It's called looking ahead!


Ingineer66 said...

And in California the State College faculty is about to go on strike if they don't get all the raises they want. Amazing.

Rain Trueax said...

I think some of the problem is top heavy administration. The bad part about that is someone has to oversee what's going on and a lot of people don't want the government doing it. If not them, than who? To have these costs escalate as they have just since 2002 says something is wrong. Inflation alone does not explain these costs. Shouldn't we fix it?

Rain Trueax said...

the shock I had on Washington was the Democrats were trying to keep the costs up and the Republicans were fighting for a cut. Do Democrats only want a few elites having an education?

Ingineer66 said...

We are essentially a one party state now and that is what they seem to want here. Choke out the middle class on pretty much everything. But throw a few crumbs to the poor to make it look they they care.

And I agree on too much management. When I was a student employee we had a Director of Admissions, an associate director and an assistant director. Then admissions, records and public contact sections each had supervisors. And that is just one department. The university president now makes $279k plus a $40k housing allowance and a $12k car allowance so that equals $331k per year and we are in a relatively low cost area by California standards. Other Universities pay more.

bev said...

Good rant! Tuition isn't as high at most universities up here in Canada. The only exception would be MBA programs at some universities, and medical universities. However, the cost is gradually rising. A lot of students come from other countries to study at Canadian universities because, even as non-residents, the tuition is often less expensive than at universities in their own countries. I agree that top administration and also older tenured professors drive up the operating costs of universities. My alma mater brought in a new policy when I was there in the mid-90s, that had professors retiring at 70 (as I recall), to make way for younger professors -- partly to cut costs, but also to make more opportunities for younger staff. One thing that Canadian universities do not put as much money into compared to the U.S. (at least at most of them), is university sports -- and most particularly, football. A year or so ago, I read something about how much the football coaches, and other expenses related to the football team, cost an american university. I think the coach was the highest paid person on the whole campus payroll. That seems nuts to me. Anyhow, good topic!

Rain Trueax said...

Good points. And ingineer, worse, we are a one party country. No matter who gets in, red or blue, they don't actually work on the problems. The right claims they want to strangle government, end all the programs and how does that solve the kind of problems a complex nation is facing? Saying no isn't an answer. It's a non-answer. But in the end, whoever gets in, they do the same thing-- increasing government one way or the other. Something is wrong with our 'two party' system as it doesn't really exist.

It will take outside experts getting into the universities to cut the management that they don't need. I should add where my husband does consulting, he works with them a lot and frankly the waste you described, still there and then some :(. And meanwhile they are strangling the middle class to end it, I guess

I think they pay those coaches so much, Bev, because they claim it'll bring in alumni money. It's a scam one way or another and now we find out the brain damage done from football as it's played and explain to me how that benefits us as a nation? I know people enjoy the game but there has to be some perspective as to how much it really contributes to a better society.

Ingineer66 said...

I think they are trying very hard to control the concussion issue. Time will tell if it is enough, but they are trying to fix it. I find it interesting that some players are dying young and many others are living well in to their 80's. I wonder if it more about the drugs they have been taking than it is the impacts that they are taking.

The other thing that college football brings in is TV money and that is huge in addition to the rich boosters making donations.

My wife used to work with K-12 school districts around the country on their accounting software. It is amazing the amount of waste she saw and that was just from the admin building.

Ingineer66 said...

You are right about the pols. They are just about cashing in. I read about an LA county supervisor the other day who went on to Congress. It is just sick how he has wasted tax money on himself and abused his power at the county and in Congress and he is still in office.

Rain Trueax said...

They will know if it's drugs or impact as an autopsy shows the scar tissue on the brain which is true of those who are physically abused as children also. Certainly the guys taking steroids to bulk up are risking shortening their lives.

My dad was a school janitor in the years right before he retired. He saw a lot of waste and what got him the most was the books they threw away because they had to have the new year's edition. Insane. We used to trade our books in when we were in college but if they are spending thousands every year on books, looks like used books aren't available. That's usually lobbying that creates that.