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Voters Rank Education High Among Issues of Importance!

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Kimberly Helping reported in the Detroit News that in Washington — Lawmakers looking ahead to the November elections are putting renewed focus on education, tackling issues on Capitol Hill this week ranging from expanding charter schools to paying off student loan debt.  Labor should be glad to know that the new frontier besides organizing health care organizations that higher education has sought its guidance and counsel. "a House committee will examine how higher education and college sports might be affected by a regional National Labor Relations Board ruling allowing Northwestern University football players to unionize." We know that universities have take advantage of athletes-really, but now athletes are smarter and the Jocks have a point.


Also on the frontier in the House where House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has made expanding school choice options a priority. "Reflecting that enthusiasm, the House as early as Thursday will consider legislation that would provide $300 million annually to expand charter schools. It would consolidate two existing programs, provide state grants to expand and replicate high-quality charter schools and fund the acquisition of buildings for the schools."  He stated, “America isn’t working when our students do not have the opportunity to attend a school that best fits their needs.”


Educators have been against vouchers-what is interesting is that if a child can go to any public school and the dollars can follow them-what's the fuss if a private school gets the dough?  "Even as many Democrats adamantly oppose school vouchers, expanding high-quality charter schools is an area where the two sides have found some common ground. The charter schools bill, for example, has the support of Rep. George Miller, a California lawmaker who is the ranking Democrat on the House education committee. While it appeared to have a strong chance of House passage, its future was uncertain in the Senate." This will ultimately have to have the blessing of the AFT.

An idea whose time has come is re-financing of student loans-this is not mere consolidation of loans-which on the surface is okay, but this suggests that students be given an ultra low rate for re-fi and that means a big savings in the 100s of billions.


Helping reported that "Student loans, the subject of some contentious debate in 2013, are coming up again in both the House and Senate." My thoughts are what's the big debate. Brenda Lawrence said in 2012 when she ran for Congress that students basically have to man up and get it done.  What we need is a Congressman like myself who will fight for reduction in rates, loan forgiveness if you work in a Title I school district which is akin to working in a economically depressed nation-state.The only difference is we don't have goats in the streets.


With the doubling of interest rates looming, Congress last year acted to keep them at low level levels for now — but linked those rates to the financial markets. President Barack Obama had trumpeted the issue in his 2012 re-election bid, and the legislation passed with bipartisan support. I disagee with making rates adjustable to volatile markets and will fight against such GOP tactics.

What Senator Warren of Massachussetts proposes is smart and fair: "Now, moving forward a Democratic agenda focused on college costs leading to the November election, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on Tuesday filed a bill co-sponsored by more than 20 fellow Democratic senators that would open the door for potentially millions of federal loan recipients to refinance that debt at the same rate as current recipients. Undergraduates, for example, qualify for loans at a 3.86 percentage rate.  Warren called the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt in America a “crisis that threatens our economy.” Her plan would fund the effort with a tax increase on wealthy Americans, but could potentially cost billions."  

Why oppose this if you are rich. You are re-investing in the USA's future and global competitiveness?  Even if you disagree with her rationale “I think bringing down the interest rates on existing student loans would be a huge benefit for young people who are trying to build some economic security and for this economy,” then, consider having less debt makes future earners more likely to make home purchases, car purchase and consume other capital goods! Miller said he’s getting less optimistic the law and another one up for renewal focused on higher education will pass this year.“This nation has a lot of work to do on its education system but there’s some belief by a lot of people that the federal government doesn’t make any difference and we don’t need to do this, but the fact of the matter is we’re falling further and further behind internationally,” Miller said.


The article went on to divulge "Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., said Republican lawmakers are open to refinancing student loan debt, but have to be mindful of the cost to taxpayers. “It’s also important we don’t drown the future generation in debt,” Messer said. In a March Associated Press-GfK poll, education was one of the few issues where Democrats had an advantage over Republicans. In the poll, 25 percent of respondents favored the Democrats approach while 18 percent preferred the Republicans. But among a public disenchanted with both parties, more — 29 percent — said they trust neither party on education. Another 26 percent said they trusted both equally. Despite the renewed focus on education, it does not appear that Congress is close to rewriting the No Child Left Behind law that’s been up for renewal since 2007. The GOP-led House passed a rewrite of the law, but no vote has been scheduled on the Senate floor on a Democratic-run Senate education panel’s version."


Going back to the Labor issue in Higher Education: "The ruling in March said athletes were employees of the university and had the same rights to bargain collectively as other workers. Northwestern University football players cast secret ballots April 25 on whether to form a union, although the results aren’t expected to be released until after the full NLRB rules on Northwestern’s appeal." My thoughts are get ready America for Unions to represent atheletes who have been take advantage of by administration and management as a sort of well this is the way we have done things in this billion dollar industry!


Now Helping observed that "Outside of Washington, lawmakers in several states are debating the future of the Common Core standards, which have been adopted in 44 states and the District of Columbia and spell out for each grade what math and English skills students should master." What's gravely disppointing as you might can ascertain is that there are not standards for Social Studies: which are at the heart of all conflict! This worries me of possible antrhopicide. The inability of humankind to harness and regulate itself with WMD. Science and math do have other applications-many useful, but the periodic table and Newtonian Mathematics are not present at Camp David or at World Tribunals. Nor were Physics in the debate in Rowanda or in Nigeria and SeneGambia or Korea or Maylasia and China.  The American College and Trustees Association did a study ten years ago about the lack of Social Studies or shared history at Americas leading Universities.  Common Core can be improved by adding a Standard for Social Studies in Middle Grades and High School.


I support Common Core with this change!  "On Monday, the group Collaborative for Student Success, which is backed by education foundations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said it would send representatives to Capitol Hill and to GOP congressional committee offices encouraging support for the standards."

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Reply James
3:25 AM on March 26, 2018 
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