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 Post subject: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 4:12 pm 
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Matt Taibbi's take on the student loan situation:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/ripping-off-young-america-the-college-loan-scandal-20130815?page=4

Quote:
We're doing the worst thing people can do: lying to our young. Nobody, not even this president, who was swept to victory in large part by the raw enthusiasm of college kids, has the stones to tell the truth: that a lot of them will end up being pawns in a predatory con game designed to extract the equivalent of home-mortgage commitment from 17-year-olds dreaming of impossible careers as nautical archaeologists or orchestra conductors


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 5:27 pm 
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the problem isn't college.* The problem is that we are failing to produce good jobs for people. The college degree is still the entry ticket into the better fields, but there aren't enough positions to go around.

* which is not to say that costs are not ridiculously high--some of that is because public funding is slashed but that can't account for everything and I'm not sure where it goes. Not to my salary.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 5:30 pm 
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I've said this before, but student loans are going to be THE issue that will affect the next great alignment in politics. How the parties respond, and who has the courage to offer up debt forgiveness, percentage caps on debt, etc. That will win the votes of students and young people and their parents who want them to be independent.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 5:42 pm 
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stip wrote:
the problem isn't college.* The problem is that we are failing to produce good jobs for people. The college degree is still the entry ticket into the better fields, but there aren't enough positions to go around.

* which is not to say that costs are not ridiculously high--some of that is because public funding is slashed but that can't account for everything and I'm not sure where it goes. Not to my salary.
How about the people who don't have the ability or desire to complete or use a degree that have racked up oodles of debt? That was at least my takeaway from Taibbi's article--that we've been suckering too many kids into college that either shouldn't have gone or weren't ready to go.

stip wrote:
I've said this before, but student loans are going to be THE issue that will affect the next great alignment in politics. How the parties respond, and who has the courage to offer up debt forgiveness, percentage caps on debt, etc. That will win the votes of students and young people and their parents who want them to be independent.
I do think that you're right about this, for better or worse--and it fits in well to what I've mentioned before in the generations thread. The Millienials are taking the overwhelming brunt of student loans, and they're also starting their entrance into the political scene. What the solution is, of course, has yet to be seen.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 5:48 pm 
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stip wrote:
the problem isn't college.* The problem is that we are failing to produce good jobs for people. The college degree is still the entry ticket into the better fields, but there aren't enough positions to go around.

* which is not to say that costs are not ridiculously high--some of that is because public funding is slashed but that can't account for everything and I'm not sure where it goes. Not to my salary.



Worthwhile research might just be what all dollars are going for. I don't think professor salaries are likely to be the issue, I do expect overhead and facilities costs to be up there. Leaving the lights in the science building on all night costs a lot of money. There is a ton of debt in many athletic departments as well.

As a nation, we should probably start promoting the virtues of vocational training much more than we currently do and helping people find much less expensive was to go get higher education

That and maybe the old model of going to high school strait into 4 years of college isn't as realistic as it once was. If you are starting out at 24 or 25 with a house payment of education debt to pay, how are you supposed to also pay for a house or rent? Not many people can afford that even with most higher paying jobs available to graduates.


Last edited by Electromatic on Wed August 21, 2013 5:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 5:56 pm 
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Electromatic wrote:
stip wrote:
the problem isn't college.* The problem is that we are failing to produce good jobs for people. The college degree is still the entry ticket into the better fields, but there aren't enough positions to go around.

* which is not to say that costs are not ridiculously high--some of that is because public funding is slashed but that can't account for everything and I'm not sure where it goes. Not to my salary.



Worthwhile research might just be what all dollars are going for. I don't think professor salaries are likely to be the issue, I do expect overhead and facilities costs to be up there. Leaving the lights in the science building on all night costs a lot of money.

Certainly universities share part of the blame. They are overbuilt to the point of insanity in some cases, often without improving education in the slightest, and this is paid for by brutal loans given to kids.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 6:04 pm 
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Electromatic wrote:
There is a ton of debt in many athletic departments as well.
The O clearly stand for opulence.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 12:55 am 
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i agree that pushing other options like trade schools is also important (in fact, I would probably like the pre-professional element phased away from colleges a bit), and college is absurdly expensive, but the issue here should be figuring out how to make college more affordable (and increase the help and resources available for kids who are not prepared for it), not encouraging fewer kids to go. If you scale back on college access you'll end up further entrenching already existing elite hierarchies in this country

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 3:36 am 
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stip wrote:
If you scale back on college access you'll end up further entrenching already existing elite hierarchies in this country
I don't understand this statement. Won't elites still have their elite schools for retrenchment and hoggishness?

I think a big factor in affordability has to be to encourage young adults to make wise decisions with further education that will be appropriate for them. If they don't know what they want to educate themselves in, or their dream just isn't feasible, they could be in for really rough shape on the affordability front if their investment goes belly up.

The romanticizing of the college experience also really needs to stop. Yes, you can have a hell of a lot of fun there, but is it fun that's worth spending a decade or so to pay off? Hopefully, with the Millennials taking it up the ass right now this fervor will die down a bit.

That's not to say the supply aspect that you're talking about shouldn't be addressed. Electro already mentioned trade schools, and I'd support more community colleges as well. (Thank goodness the Boise metro area finally got one!) I'd be very careful with increased financial aid and debt forgiveness, although I wouldn't completely take it off the table. Nonetheless, I think that any solution has to address the demand aspect as well.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 3:37 am 
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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 5:44 am 
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Green Habit wrote:
stip wrote:
If you scale back on college access you'll end up further entrenching already existing elite hierarchies in this country
I don't understand this statement. Won't elites still have their elite schools for retrenchment and hoggishness?

I think a big factor in affordability has to be to encourage young adults to make wise decisions with further education that will be appropriate for them. If they don't know what they want to educate themselves in, or their dream just isn't feasible, they could be in for really rough shape on the affordability front if their investment goes belly up.

The romanticizing of the college experience also really needs to stop. Yes, you can have a hell of a lot of fun there, but is it fun that's worth spending a decade or so to pay off? Hopefully, with the Millennials taking it up the ass right now this fervor will die down a bit.

That's not to say the supply aspect that you're talking about shouldn't be addressed. Electro already mentioned trade schools, and I'd support more community colleges as well. (Thank goodness the Boise metro area finally got one!) I'd be very careful with increased financial aid and debt forgiveness, although I wouldn't completely take it off the table. Nonetheless, I think that any solution has to address the demand aspect as well.


I and my parents were dumb enough to buy into the college dream, and even with the relative insurance of an 'employable' degree it has done fuck all for me. Luckily I don't have a mountain of debt and merely my parents to answer to, but still.

I don't doubt that public schools have seen a nominal decrease in state support in recent years, but based on the current dollar cost in public education in the time my parents were in school versus today, it can't be everything. What were we doing in say the 70s in public education, and what are we doing today? Current students should be given an option when presented a choice between state of the art facilities with dozens of vice presidents of diversity and cost effective education with a reasonable chance of employment.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 9:51 am 
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simple schoolboy wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
stip wrote:
If you scale back on college access you'll end up further entrenching already existing elite hierarchies in this country
I don't understand this statement. Won't elites still have their elite schools for retrenchment and hoggishness?

I think a big factor in affordability has to be to encourage young adults to make wise decisions with further education that will be appropriate for them. If they don't know what they want to educate themselves in, or their dream just isn't feasible, they could be in for really rough shape on the affordability front if their investment goes belly up.



I don't doubt that public schools have seen a nominal decrease in state support in recent years, but based on the current dollar cost in public education in the time my parents were in school versus today, it can't be everything. What were we doing in say the 70s in public education, and what are we doing today? Current students should be given an option when presented a choice between state of the art facilities with dozens of vice presidents of diversity and cost effective education with a reasonable chance of employment.


I agree on both counts

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 9:55 am 
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Green Habit wrote:
stip wrote:
If you scale back on college access you'll end up further entrenching already existing elite hierarchies in this country
I don't understand this statement. Won't elites still have their elite schools for retrenchment and hoggishness?


they will, and that's a problem, but the degrees conferred by the rest of them are the backbone of the middle class. The elite schools will always be there, and will always do well. Make it harder to get some kind of post high school education and you are just increasing the elite value of that degree.

Again, while the issue with how much college costs is a huge one, the solution is not to say 'lets just not do it anymore.' that's like saying the solution to health care being too expensive is to not get sick. The real problems here are figuring out how to lower costs and, perhaps even more importantly, working to increase the number of jobs and opportunities that make the degree worthwhile.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 9:57 am 
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Green Habit wrote:
I think a big factor in affordability has to be to encourage young adults to make wise decisions with further education that will be appropriate for them. If they don't know what they want to educate themselves in, or their dream just isn't feasible, they could be in for really rough shape on the affordability front if their investment goes belly up.

The romanticizing of the college experience also really needs to stop. Yes, you can have a hell of a lot of fun there, but is it fun that's worth spending a decade or so to pay off? Hopefully, with the Millennials taking it up the ass right now this fervor will die down a bit.



I support not going to college right after high school in many cases so you can answer that question. But as far as the romanticization stuff goes, you are kinda right (or at least, I kinda agree) but I believe statistically you are still economically considerably better off in your lifetime with the degree. Even today, when that's been severely truncated, you're still better off with than without. But the 'with' needs to be much better.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 12:12 pm 
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stip wrote:
but I believe statistically you are still economically considerably better off in your lifetime with the degree. Even today, when that's been severely truncated, you're still better off with than without. But the 'with' needs to be much better.

This is true from an average salary/total amount made in lifetime standpoint, but taking out massive student loans complicate the issue. That debt absolutely has to be considered to determine whether the person is actually better off. Additionally, what was the opportunity cost of spending X number of years in college?

I'm not against college by any means, but I do think that a lot of people who are not likely to ever graduate or use their degree (or unnecessarily choose to go to an expensive school) are wasting A LOT of time and money.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 12:17 pm 
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Also, can't it be argued that the proliferation of federal student loans is significantly distorting the demand for a college education, thereby helping to increase the cost for everybody?

This idea is something I struggle with. I think it's very desirable for everybody to have access to a college education, but is offering people who already probably aren't too well off a new mountain of debt in exchange for the dream of a college education the best way to do that ?

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 12:44 pm 
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stip wrote:
they will, and that's a problem, but the degrees conferred by the rest of them are the backbone of the middle class. The elite schools will always be there, and will always do well. Make it harder to get some kind of post high school education and you are just increasing the elite value of that degree.
I'm not sure if I fully buy this. Lefties like Krugman always tell me that the apex of the American middle class was during the 1950s, a time where the middle class has less formal education than it does today. I think a degree is only one (often important) part of the recipe, not the thing that holds it together. Left wingers would probably also say that everyone deserves to make a good living, regardless of educational background.

I'm not sure what the right wing response would be--I'll just lift what LW posted in the old college thread and go with "stop getting useless liberal arts degrees". :)

stip wrote:
Again, while the issue with how much college costs is a huge one, the solution is not to say 'lets just not do it anymore.' that's like saying the solution to health care being too expensive is to not get sick. The real problems here are figuring out how to lower costs and, perhaps even more importantly, working to increase the number of jobs and opportunities that make the degree worthwhile.
I hope I haven't been giving the impression that I'm saying "let's not do it" as a general rule. If you are quite talented, and/or you're ready to make a commitment towards a reasonable career that you're passionate about, then by all means go to college if needed. I just think you have to take every person on a case by case basis--and in some cases, "don't go" may be the wiser decision.

stip wrote:
I support not going to college right after high school in many cases so you can answer that question. But as far as the romanticization stuff goes, you are kinda right (or at least, I kinda agree) but I believe statistically you are still economically considerably better off in your lifetime with the degree. Even today, when that's been severely truncated, you're still better off with than without. But the 'with' needs to be much better.
I would agree, with a few caveats: 1) you actually get your degree, 2) you get a degree that has a good chance of being parlayed into a career, 3) you don't assume that a degree is all that you need to make a good living.

That third point is another type of anti-romanticization that needs to happen. I learned that the hard way for about a year or two--many others have been learning it for much longer than that.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Something else I'll add to the conversation was some info that startled me before. Here's a list of the top 40 occupations by number of people:
Code:
1    Retail salespersons   4,340,000   3.33%
2    Cashiers   3,314,010   2.54%
3    Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food.   2,943,810   2.26%
4    Office clerks, general   2,808,100   2.16%
[b]5    Registered nurses   2,633,980   2.02%[/b]
6    Waiters and waitresses   2,332,020   1.79%
7    Customer service representatives   2,299,750   1.77%
8    Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand.   2,143,940   1.65%
9    Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners   2,097,380   1.61%
10    Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive   2,085,680   1.60%
[b]11    General and operations managers   1,899,460   1.46%[/b]
12    Stock clerks and order fillers   1,806,310   1.39%
[b]13    Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks   1,606,260   1.23%[/b]
14    Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers   1,556,510   1.19%
[b]15    Nursing assistants   1,420,020   1.09%
16    Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products   1,414,030   1.09%
17    Elementary school teachers, except special education.   1,360,380   1.04%
18    First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers   1,359,150   1.04%[/b]
19    Maintenance and repair workers, general.   1,230,270   0.94%
20    First-line supervisors of retail sales workers   1,214,170   0.93%
21    Teacher assistants   1,185,700   0.91%
[b]22    Accountants and auditors   1,129,340   0.87%[/b]
23    Security guards   1,046,420   0.80%
24    Team assemblers   1,006,980   0.77%
25    Cooks, restaurant   1,000,710   0.77%
26    Personal care aides   985,230   0.76%
27    Receptionists and information clerks   966,150   0.74%
[b]28    Secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education.   959,770   0.74%
29    Business operations specialists, all other   931,010   0.71%[/b]
30    Maids and housekeeping cleaners   894,920   0.69%
31    Home health aides   839,930   0.64%
32    Landscaping and groundskeeping workers   830,640   0.64%
33    First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers   817,600   0.63%
34    Construction laborers   814,470   0.63%
35    Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants   803,040   0.62%
36    Food preparation workers   785,370   0.60%
37    Light truck or delivery services drivers   769,010   0.59%
[b]38    Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses   718,800   0.55%[/b]
39    Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks   690,780   0.53%
40    Packers and packagers, hand    660,670   0.51%
I've highlighted the ones that could legitimately require formal education to excel at. However, what surprised me is that most of that list consists of quite unglamorous jobs, and it makes up more than a third of the workforce. It is true that this list may not be the same a decade or two from now, but I'm not sure if it will radically change.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 1:31 pm 
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stip wrote:
i agree that pushing other options like trade schools is also important (in fact, I would probably like the pre-professional element phased away from colleges a bit), and college is absurdly expensive, but the issue here should be figuring out how to make college more affordable (and increase the help and resources available for kids who are not prepared for it), not encouraging fewer kids to go. If you scale back on college access you'll end up further entrenching already existing elite hierarchies in this country



I wasn't intending to mean scaling back on college access. I just think most of the solutions I'm reading about have to do with aid and financing. That doesn't address the root of the problem which is that the costs of higher education are rising at unrealistic levels. The problem is not that people can't find ways to attend college, the problem is that the colleges they might want to go to are astronomically expensive. What kind of return are we getting on that at the collegate and student levels? How much does it matter that you have a degree with a brand? For that matter what if options for higher education include cheaper ways for the student like online studies for instance that don't involve some of the more expensive aspects of college?

I feel the same way about this that I do about health care, there are plenty of options for financial incentives, scholarships, work programs, coops in addition to federal and state loan programs, many of them are not well publicised and many high schoolers that do plan to apply to college (that aren't very driven) probably don't know all of the opportunities available to them. That said, none of these do anything to address the rising costs of education many of which are unrealistic given the wages that we are earning in society these days.

We continue to spend money in the form of loans and write offs toward Education and Healthcare without dealing with the problem of expense.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I don't have a problem with offering loans, I think they are great options to have especially for people who are driven and know what they want to do. I think a lot of students however, don't know what they want to do and spend a lot of time and money in college figuring that out. It's kind of like waiting until you are in the recording studio to start practicing and writing. We've got to do a better job advising people on their options and the costs and results of those options. A liberal arts education is a great asset becuase you can learn a lot about a large variety of subjects allowing one theoretically to go into a variety of fields, but without a focused approach and good guidence it's easy to get lost and have to spend several more semesters than necessary taking classes that don't end with successful completion of a degree.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 2:12 pm 
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4/5 wrote:
stip wrote:
but I believe statistically you are still economically considerably better off in your lifetime with the degree. Even today, when that's been severely truncated, you're still better off with than without. But the 'with' needs to be much better.

This is true from an average salary/total amount made in lifetime standpoint, but taking out massive student loans complicate the issue. That debt absolutely has to be considered to determine whether the person is actually better off. Additionally, what was the opportunity cost of spending X number of years in college?

I'm not against college by any means, but I do think that a lot of people who are not likely to ever graduate or use their degree (or unnecessarily choose to go to an expensive school) are wasting A LOT of time and money.

Certainly failing to complete and taking on debt in the process is the worst option

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