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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 2:27 pm 
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from ThinkProgress

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Four Ideas For How Obama Could Really Transform The Cost Of College

By Bryce Covert on August 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

campos_student_loansAs part of his summer bus tour, President Obama will be making speeches this week that will include proposals for tackling the problem of college affordability. As the New York Times reports, ahead of those speeches he told supporters in an email, “To create a better bargain for the middle class, we have to fundamentally rethink about how higher education is paid for in this country. We’ve got to shake up the current system.”

The value of a college degree is clear: University graduates make 85 percent more than high school graduates on average and have just a 3.8 percent unemployment rate, compared to 7.6 percent for those with high school degrees. The factors behind the sharp increases in college tuition and mounting load of student debt are complex. But tinkering with student loan rates, while important, doesn’t actually change the way Americans pay for higher education. There are some ideas, however, for how to radically transform the way Americans pay for college. Here are four that stand a chance of truly shaking up the system:

1. Allow graduates to discharge student loans in bankruptcy: While nearly all forms of debt can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings, letting a borrower start anew financially, rules put into place by Congress in the 1970s make it nearly impossible to do so with student loans. Joe Valenti and David Bergeron of the Center for American Progress have proposed changing this system by allowing loans with unbearable repayment conditions or taken out to attend schools with poor track records on graduates finding employment to be eliminated in bankruptcy. This would not only combat the sky-high default rate and give graduates a way to build back their finances, it would incentivize lenders to offer better terms and schools to improve the employment prospects for students.

2. Encourage and finance college savings accounts: The Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas has proposed a plan that would automatically enroll every child in a college savings account at birth, publicly finance initial deposits, and provide public matching funds to help families pay for college costs. This would allow many more families to pay for the costs out of pocket and rely less on student loans that have to be paid back with interest. But doing so wouldn’t just make college more affordable — it would make it vastly more accessible to many people. The report notes that while just 45 percent of high school students without college savings ever enroll, nearly three-quarters of those with savings do. Meanwhile, just seven percent of those without savings will graduate compared to a third of those who have them. Even college savings of less than $500 means low- and moderate-income students will be three times as likely to enroll and four times as likely to graduate.

3. Cover the cost of tuition with an income-based payment plan post-graduation: In July, Oregon passed a bill that allows students to attend a community college or public university at no cost if they agree to pay a certain portion of their income after they graduate. One model proposed that for 20 years after graduation, community college students would have to pay 1.5 percent of their incomes and four-year public university students would pay 3 percent. Those are much more favorable terms than what many go through with student loans. And while income-based repayment plans exist for student loans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found that few are making use of them.

4. Make college free: It may sound like a radical idea, but it wouldn’t have to be a huge expense. The Roosevelt Institute’s Mike Konczal ran the numbers and found that the government already spends $22.75 billion through tax breaks and incentives that are aimed at making student loans or the cost of college more manageable. The government also spends $104 billion on student loans. The cost of providing free public higher education has been estimated to come to $127 billion — not far from what it’s already shelling out. Not only would this create an entirely affordable and accessible option for all students, but private universities would likely be pressured to reduce costs to better compete with the free option.


1and 3 are my personal favorites.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 3:03 pm 
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simple schoolboy wrote:
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?


Well, we were doing the following:

1. We were neglecting our special needs students. Special Education funding (which includes spending related to learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and behavioral needs individuals) was roughly 10% of what it is today in the 1970's. Not surprising, since the landmark case that resulted in states being required to adequately fund and evaluate their special needs support didn't occur until 1971, and a 1975 survey of the available programs determined that fewer than half of all handicapped children in the United States still did not receive adequate services in order to have access to an equal education (and that more than 20% received no services whatsoever). The Reagan era was not great for Special Ed, either...heck, it wasn't until 1994 that Sacramento v. Rachel H. resulted in an emphasis on educating handicapped students with regular students to the highest degree made possible by their conditions...and that decision alone caused a sharp increase in the need for paras, support services and materials, and special education teachers.

2. We were expecting less from teachers. The number of hours teachers spend each year on professional in-service, accountability, technology training and assessment have more than tripled in the last 30 years. In addition to that, the number of student in-class days has steadily increased (avgs: 160 in 1970, 180 in 2012), and the number of work day office hours has plummeted (while the amount of office work has substantially increased)...so while teacher compensation has increased an average of 20% after inflation adjustment in the last 40 years, the amount of work involved has consistently matched or outpaced that.

3. We had fewer standards. Testing prior to the Reagan administration was largely for reference purposes, and curriculum was largely decided by the teacher. Test-obsession culture and the push to unified standards are both intensive. The amount of money spent on testing or test prep each year has increased by more than 1000% since 1979. And that's adjusted for inflation.

4. We weren't litigating every time we disagreed with a teacher. Between 1984 and 1986, fewer than 8% of schools were involved in lawsuits of some sort. From 1997 to 1999, it was 25%. In 2006-8, it was 31%. According to a survey of cases by the American Tort Reform Association, more than half of the increase took the form of grading complaint suits or claims of unfair consequences being leveled.

5. We weren't worrying about poor students. The school lunch program was a quarter century on the ground by the 1970's, but was still vague in its expectations and its enforcement. The degree to which it functioned varied not just from state to state, but from county to county. According the a Harvard study in 1970, fewer than 40% of children living near or below the poverty line had access to a school lunch. These days, not only do students in poor economic conditions get free breakfast and lunch, but there are numerous assistance programs filtered through the schools to support families in need...all calculated in when we take total school funding divided by number of students to determine our spending rates.

6. We weren't running bilingual support programs. The amount of money spent on bilingual education in 1967 was so insubstantial that only two states actually mentioned it at all in their state budgets. One internal New York report summarizes it as costing the entire state less than the price of rebuilding a fire-damaged school library. An entire industry of support mechanisms has been developed in the last 20 years...mostly the last 10....involving staff, programs, oversight, and training.

7. We let you drop out. It's hard to even begin to explain how complicated and immense attendance programs are...the alternative schools, the lawyers, the social workers and the documentation....so I'll just leave it at the simplest number: attendance support represented SEVEN PERCENT OF ALL EDUCATION SPENDING INCREASES from 1967-1991.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 3:04 pm 
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I'm not really a fan of any of those four options, to be honest.

1) The basic reason of why student loans aren't dischargeable is a sound one. You're dealing with an unsecured loan that can't be repossessed upon default. If you allowed all student loans to be cleared, you set up a perverse scenario in which a young person, who has yet to accumulate significant assets, racks up six figures in student debt getting degrees, declares bankruptcy upon graduation, and then lives off cash for the rest of the 20s before getting seriously ready to use credit again. Also, the article claims that this would force lenders to offer better terms, but I think more likely scenario is that lenders would simply lend less. This would reduce the availability of college for some.

Again, I don't think debt forgiveness should be completely off the table--I just think you have to be very careful with how you do it.

2) Families have to save for more than just college. Retirement, of course, is the big one. Furthermore, families that make less necessarily have less to save in the first place. I'm not sure if it's wise to set up nudges in favor of children's future education funds (of which they may or may not even use) at the expense of the family's present well-being, or the parent's future well being in retirement.

3) I see this as a risky gamble for both sides of the table. For the student, you're essentially making yourself a debt slave for 20 years. If you perform well, you have no recourse to get out of your debt situation. At least with traditional student loans you could choose to either pay it all off, or live with the interest rate if it's low enough. For the colleges, I could see them getting sunk into deep financial trouble if not enough of their students make enough money to cover the bills. This is particularly dire for state governments, who don't have the power of the printing press to dig their way out of deficits.

I am intrigued by income-based repayment plans, though, and while I'd have to do some research I might see this as one of the careful options for debt forgiveness.

4) The clear danger here, of course, is that people would go to college with no purpose to use what they've learned there. This is especially so if they're looking more for the experience than the education. I think any assistance to enroll in higher education needs to come with the faith that you're actually going to follow through with the goal that you're getting assistance with.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 3:36 pm 
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Green Habit wrote:
I'm not really a fan of any of those four options, to be honest.

1) The basic reason of why student loans aren't dischargeable is a sound one. You're dealing with an unsecured loan that can't be repossessed upon default. If you allowed all student loans to be cleared, you set up a perverse scenario in which a young person, who has yet to accumulate significant assets, racks up six figures in student debt getting degrees, declares bankruptcy upon graduation, and then lives off cash for the rest of the 20s before getting seriously ready to use credit again. Also, the article claims that this would force lenders to offer better terms, but I think more likely scenario is that lenders would simply lend less. This would reduce the availability of college for some.

Again, I don't think debt forgiveness should be completely off the table--I just think you have to be very careful with how you do it.

2) Families have to save for more than just college. Retirement, of course, is the big one. Furthermore, families that make less necessarily have less to save in the first place. I'm not sure if it's wise to set up nudges in favor of children's future education funds (of which they may or may not even use) at the expense of the family's present well-being, or the parent's future well being in retirement.

3) I see this as a risky gamble for both sides of the table. For the student, you're essentially making yourself a debt slave for 20 years. If you perform well, you have no recourse to get out of your debt situation. At least with traditional student loans you could choose to either pay it all off, or live with the interest rate if it's low enough. For the colleges, I could see them getting sunk into deep financial trouble if not enough of their students make enough money to cover the bills. This is particularly dire for state governments, who don't have the power of the printing press to dig their way out of deficits.

I am intrigued by income-based repayment plans, though, and while I'd have to do some research I might see this as one of the careful options for debt forgiveness.

4) The clear danger here, of course, is that people would go to college with no purpose to use what they've learned there. This is especially so if they're looking more for the experience than the education. I think any assistance to enroll in higher education needs to come with the faith that you're actually going to follow through with the goal that you're getting assistance with.


regarding 4, I'd argue that the education itself has value, decoupled from job prospects.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 3:44 pm 
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stip wrote:
regarding 4, I'd argue that the education itself has value, decoupled from job prospects.
Absolutely. Whether or not the current system is the best and most cost-effective way to harness that value is a bigger question.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
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it's clearly not. I don't like Obama's proposal either, since no school will now risk taking in marginal students.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 29, 2013 4:11 pm 
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http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/ ... ivate.html

Quote:
If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person
A manifesto.

By Allison Benedikt|Posted Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, at 5:50 AM

Send your kids to public school, even if you can afford private. Future generations will thank you.

You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

And parents have a lot of power. In many underresourced schools, it’s the aggressive PTAs that raise the money for enrichment programs and willful parents who get in the administration’s face when a teacher is falling down on the job. Everyone, all in. (By the way: Banning private schools isn’t the answer. We need a moral adjustment, not a legislative one.)

There are a lot of reasons why bad people send their kids to private school. Yes, some do it for prestige or out of loyalty to a long-standing family tradition or because they want their children to eventually work at Slate. But many others go private for religious reasons, or because their kids have behavioral or learning issues, or simply because the public school in their district is not so hot. None of these are compelling reasons. Or, rather, the compelling ones (behavioral or learning issues, wanting a not-subpar school for your child) are exactly why we should all opt in, not out.

I believe in public education, but my district school really isn’t good! you might say. I understand. You want the best for your child, but your child doesn’t need it. If you can afford private school (even if affording means scrimping and saving, or taking out loans), chances are that your spawn will be perfectly fine at a crappy public school. She will have support at home (that’s you!) and all the advantages that go along with being a person whose family can pay for and cares about superior education—the exact kind of family that can help your crappy public school become less crappy. She may not learn as much or be as challenged, but take a deep breath and live with that. Oh, but she’s gifted? Well, then, she’ll really be fine.

I went K–12 to a terrible public school. My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one book. There wasn’t even soccer. This is not a humblebrag! I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.

By the way: My parents didn’t send me to this shoddy school because they believed in public ed. They sent me there because that’s where we lived, and they weren’t too worried about it. (Can you imagine?) Take two things from this on your quest to become a better person: 1) Your child will probably do just fine without “the best,” so don’t freak out too much, but 2) do freak out a little more than my parents did—enough to get involved.

Also remember that there’s more to education than what’s taught. As rotten as my school’s English, history, science, social studies, math, art, music, and language programs were, going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation. Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.

Many of my (morally bankrupt) colleagues send their children to private schools. I asked them to tell me why. Here is the response that most stuck with me: “In our upper-middle-class world, it is hard not to pay for something if you can and you think it will be good for your kid.” I get it: You want an exceptional arts program and computer animation and maybe even Mandarin. You want a cohesive educational philosophy. You want creativity, not teaching to the test. You want great outdoor space and small classrooms and personal attention. You know who else wants those things? Everyone.

Whatever you think your children need—deserve—from their school experience, assume that the parents at the nearby public housing complex want the same. No, don’t just assume it. Do something about it. Send your kids to school with their kids. Use the energy you have otherwise directed at fighting to get your daughter a slot at the competitive private school to fight for more computers at the public school. Use your connections to power and money and innovation to make your local school—the one you are now sending your child to—better. Don’t just acknowledge your liberal guilt—listen to it.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 29, 2013 4:51 pm 
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I assume that's tongue in cheek.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 29, 2013 5:00 pm 
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i cannot wait to become a worse person than i already am


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 29, 2013 5:42 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 don't see how making college more affordable for all degrees (esp worthless degrees) is worthwhile. We should be making them more affordable for industries where there is growth and job creation - like STEM areas. For example, I posted a resume on careerbuilder nearly 6 months ago and am still getting callbacks for jobs and people asking if I knew of anyone would had the skills need in various computer/networking/web skills. That's just one segment.

So many kids are graduating with $100k in debt with a degree in philosophy, performing arts, journalism.... and then work @ starbucks...

Instead of just throwing more money at the problem, what is being done to help avoid that?

I'm not saying there isn't huge problem with tuition rising and a well constructed student loan scam.

But how do you get kids to study topics where there are jobs available (in difficult topics) instead of easier and worthless degrees? Because unless they are wiling to do, so you won't be eroding the existing elite hierarchies - unless the Gap starts raising salaries dramatically.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 29, 2013 5:44 pm 
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Green Habit wrote:
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.


When the US controlled half the world's economy and the value of US exports to still war ravaged countries exceeded all but the largest GDPs?

Don't think we find that utopia again soon. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 29, 2013 5:56 pm 
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i cannot wait to become a worse person than i already am


LittleWing?

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 29, 2013 6:04 pm 
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broken iris wrote:
--- wrote:
i cannot wait to become a worse person than i already am


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu August 29, 2013 9:28 pm 
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Fuck You Jobu wrote:
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 don't see how making college more affordable for all degrees (esp worthless degrees) is worthwhile. We should be making them more affordable for industries where there is growth and job creation - like STEM areas. For example, I posted a resume on careerbuilder nearly 6 months ago and am still getting callbacks for jobs and people asking if I knew of anyone would had the skills need in various computer/networking/web skills. That's just one segment.

So many kids are graduating with $100k in debt with a degree in philosophy, performing arts, journalism.... and then work @ starbucks...

Instead of just throwing more money at the problem, what is being done to help avoid that?

I'm not saying there isn't huge problem with tuition rising and a well constructed student loan scam.

But how do you get kids to study topics where there are jobs available (in difficult topics) instead of easier and worthless degrees? Because unless they are wiling to do, so you won't be eroding the existing elite hierarchies - unless the Gap starts raising salaries dramatically.


I've read data that there is a surplus of job seekers in stem jobs--certain types, anyway.

If you get a major in philosophy and insist on being a philosopher you have limited options. But I have several articles from publications like the Harvard Business Review, etc. arguing that businessness need to shift focus back to liberal arts so they have workers who can actually write and think.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri August 30, 2013 10:41 am 
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stip wrote:

I've read data that there is a surplus of job seekers in stem jobs--certain types, anyway.


Yup. Should we decide to commit national economic suicide and liberalize our policies on STEM worker immigration, versus focusing on training and retaining domestic talent, the number of middle class jobs will quickly head towards zero due to wage suppression for even the most technical degrees. It's better business to have 6 $50k/year coders working 8 hour shifts in "pair programming" than two $150k/year employees working the same tasks. Makes the national emplpoyment numbers look better to.

stip wrote:
If you get a major in philosophy and insist on being a philosopher you have limited options. But I have several articles from publications like the Harvard Business Review, etc. arguing that businesses need to shift focus back to liberal arts so they have workers who can actually write and think.

[/quote]

Nope. The type of work that big thinkers who don't have STEM educations do is not needed anymore outside of the federal government. We are moving into what's called a "gig economy", where workers only stay in a job for a year or two, and employees need to be prepared accordingly by having advanced knowledge in multiple disciplines within a single field should their specialty fade away. Producing sharp, intellectual, 'blank slate' employees, no matter how trainable, is a non-starter for today's world. There is just too much competition.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri August 30, 2013 11:09 am 
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Serious question:

All these 20 to 30-something hipsters on these AT&T & Samsung commercials, wearing sweater vests and black rimmed glasses, sitting in front of office computers...what is their job? What do you think they're doing? What was most likely their major in college?


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri August 30, 2013 12:53 pm 
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broken iris wrote:
Should we decide to commit national economic suicide and liberalize our policies on STEM worker immigration, versus focusing on training and retaining domestic talent, the number of middle class jobs will quickly head towards zero due to wage suppression for even the most technical degrees.

PROTECTIONISM NOW, PROTECTIONISM TOMORROW, PROTECTIONISM FOREVER


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri August 30, 2013 2:32 pm 
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stip wrote:
Fuck You Jobu wrote:
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 don't see how making college more affordable for all degrees (esp worthless degrees) is worthwhile. We should be making them more affordable for industries where there is growth and job creation - like STEM areas. For example, I posted a resume on careerbuilder nearly 6 months ago and am still getting callbacks for jobs and people asking if I knew of anyone would had the skills need in various computer/networking/web skills. That's just one segment.

So many kids are graduating with $100k in debt with a degree in philosophy, performing arts, journalism.... and then work @ starbucks...

Instead of just throwing more money at the problem, what is being done to help avoid that?

I'm not saying there isn't huge problem with tuition rising and a well constructed student loan scam.

But how do you get kids to study topics where there are jobs available (in difficult topics) instead of easier and worthless degrees? Because unless they are wiling to do, so you won't be eroding the existing elite hierarchies - unless the Gap starts raising salaries dramatically.


I've read data that there is a surplus of job seekers in stem jobs--certain types, anyway.

If you get a major in philosophy and insist on being a philosopher you have limited options. But I have several articles from publications like the Harvard Business Review, etc. arguing that businessness need to shift focus back to liberal arts so they have workers who can actually write and think.


Philosophy, in addition to what, though, is the question.


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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri August 30, 2013 4:56 pm 
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--- wrote:
broken iris wrote:
Should we decide to commit national economic suicide and liberalize our policies on STEM worker immigration, versus focusing on training and retaining domestic talent, the number of middle class jobs will quickly head towards zero due to wage suppression for even the most technical degrees.

PROTECTIONISM NOW, PROTECTIONISM TOMORROW, PROTECTIONISM FOREVER


What I meant was that the government should not wholesale import doctors/programmers/etc from Asia. If the work is to be done over there for cost reasons, then so be it, but bringing thousands over here benefits no one but shareholders in companies like Facebook. It's a form of protectionism, I suppose, but I'd rather see wages creep downward to line with overseas competitors than to bring to flood the markets here.

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 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri August 30, 2013 6:19 pm 
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Harry Lime wrote:
Serious question:

All these 20 to 30-something hipsters on these AT&T & Samsung commercials, wearing sweater vests and black rimmed glasses, sitting in front of office computers...what is their job? What do you think they're doing? What was most likely their major in college?



Nevermind then, they're probably all business marketing degrees working at Yelp.com.


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