Education in jeopardySep 26th, 2012 | By J. Daniel Young
| Category: 2012-09-27, Fall 2012, Opinion, Top Headlines
We are about to laugh ourselves out of an education. We are so busy laughing at the latest thing that Biden says, or pointing a finger at the latest way that Romney is alienating his supporters that we’ve stopped focusing on the issues.
When you go to the poll in November, we are collectively about to determine the direction of education for current students and future children’s education.
Stop laughing at the gaffs and sound bites and start thinking about education, specifically, yours.
The presidential race has politicians at odds on how to reel in the spiraling costs of getting a college education. Obama has been working with states to offer incentives for developing a common core for their primary and higher education facilities, whereas Romney doesn’t want to use federal money for this endeavor.
While Obama has been working with teachers unions, Romney says that unions don’t have the students’ best interest at heart. And after the Chicago teachers strike recently, I agree with him, to a point.
Teachers unions have every right to work toward bettering conditions for their teachers. Isn’t that why unions are in place to begin with? Still, unions are trying to protect a portion of their membership that isn’t doing a good job and need to stop propping up poorly performing. I am not saying that it’s the teachers fault when there is a general ambivalence of the students about education in general.
Then there’s the Republican’s stance that campuses are breeding grounds for liberalism. If any of them had actually sat in any of my classes, then they would see that my professors aren’t the beacons of liberalism they would have you believe and they have little to no influence on most students’ political views. They are already coming to the table with their own ideas. Some are far left, others far right and many are in the middle.
Of great concern to students should be the political promise by Romney that he would turn back legislation from a federally backed low interest loan structure to one based on private sector loans. This action alone would place students’ futures back into the hands of the very people that helped create the current financial fiasco.
Romney implemented a solid plan in Massachusetts. One that helped fourth and eighth grade students score higher in math and English nationally. If he can pull that same story on a national level, then I am behind him for this matter. However, there’s no guarantee that he could do this on a national level. Considering that he has flip-flopped on healthcare, there’s a possibility that he may do this on a national level for education, which is a shame because his accomplishments locally were impressive.
Consider this: VSU now relies on more of your tuition money to fund education, than money from the state. With all the budget cuts to education, who exactly is looking out for education? I can only speak personally about what’s happening in Georgia because of its effect on me and my educational dollars. There’s so much talk on both sides about the importance of education, yet education seems to be first on the budget chopping block. The problem is that we have a Republican majority that has messed with HOPE, while the Feds have been doing the same with Pell. Granted, the president has been focusing on providing more money to Pell. As a displaced worker, I have been dependent on both these and financial aid to make it through my educational career.
Part of the problem in this is now that there are budget cuts impacting the amount of money VSU receives from the state, what happens to education affordability? Will there be more tuition increases? Frankly, if this happens, the state and colleges may start pricing education out of the reach of many college hopefuls. When education becomes unobtainable to the masses, we are back to the early twentieth century. The only people that could afford education then were the wealthy.
Does this mean that we will revert to a time of elitists control over education? I don’t know about you, but I think we have come too far to allow education to be something that only a certain class of people can afford.
In November, when you are at your local polling place, think about this: the decision you make with your vote will greatly impact your education and the education of your children. Not just with the national politicians, but the state and local representatives as well.