Educational Think Tank Topics for Radio Listeners and Online Readers

Educational Think Tank Topics for Radio Listeners and Online Readers


Welcome to our radio show, today’s topic will be education and we will cover a number of side topics along the way. Just so you know the ground rules, and they are very simple; I talk and you listen. After 30 minutes I will open up the phone lines, or if you are reading this transcript online as an online article that you may leave a comment below for an upcoming future program. Okay so let’s begin, as you know I don’t like to waste time.

I guess it goes without saying that a nation is only as strong as its education system was 20 years prior. And that makes this topic very important, especially because it is now October 25, 2012 and we have an election coming up in only 10 days. Although both candidates are very strong for education, our path forward will be determined by the presidential leadership which follows. President Obama is very strong with his belief in the need for education, especially giving everyone a fair chance, regardless of ethnic background, or socioeconomic status. In fact, he himself could not have become president without his college education.

His opponent Governor Mitt Romney is also strong in education, in Massachusetts while he was governor they boosted their state to the number one slot, a remarkable achievement for any state. Further, both presidential candidates believe that we need ongoing research in our universities and colleges, and we must carefully focus on math and science for our technologically advanced future. Very few could deny those are good policies, but it won’t be free. Local school districts and states have complained that the federal government all too often passes laws such as; NCLB – No Child Left behind Act, and similar mandates without funding them or sending money to the schools.

Most teachers unions claim that the heavy hand of the federal government is too much oversight and too restrictive for their teaching in the classroom, and they are afraid that too many teachers are teaching to the test to ensure that all the kids are able to read, and therefore it becomes more of a “no child allowed to advance” doctrine. Of course, those are hardly the only problems, as we see right now college tuition has gone through the roof, and the default on student loans is now at 10%. Regardless if you are a left-leaning socialist professional academic, you only have to look at that number to realize that it is; unsustainable. To borrow a trendy socialist term, now then, the let’s go ahead and talk about what’s going on with regards to these high tuition costs.

1.) Students Rally to Ensure That Budget Cuts Do Not Hurt the Community Colleges

There was an interesting article in the Los Angeles times on October 16, 2012 by Carla Riviera titled; “A Dash for Classes – Community College Students Are Commuting – By Bus, Car and Train – To Multiple Campuses Because of Severe Budget Cuts.” This is simply because the community colleges have cut classes and the number of teachers out in California. Therefore the students have to go to two or three different community colleges to get the classes they need, and then merge the transcripts later so they can graduate. Interestingly enough this problem has been going on for decades and it was even a problem after I graduated high school from what I remember.

Now the teachers are gathering with the students in protest. They are telling the California legislature that they are angry, and if they don’t get their money, they will show up en masse to vote against those that have cut, or will cut the community college budget in the future. There was another article a little over a week before on October 14, 2012 in the same newspaper titled; “Prop 30 Inspires Student Voter Drives – Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax hike proposal is being touted as the only way to avoid tuition hikes,” by Larry Gordon. So what we have now is the teachers union which is lobbying for more money, and the students who were going to vote to get more college at a lower cost.

Do you know what this means? It means that the taxpayer will now have to pay more to subsidize these college students, but I ask as a taxpayer; why it’s my problem, I’m not going to school? Why should I have to subsidize someone else’s education? There are student loans available, everyone else is getting student loans, and the community colleges don’t cost that much anyway. Further, why don’t some of these students go out and get a job? Well, it just so happens that there are not that many jobs available because our economy is in shambles, mostly because the economic stimulus didn’t work, as the Obama Administration spent the money on things which did not drive employment numbers as was planned.

Another thing I find unfortunate is if these students get away with registering to vote in large numbers, then they will realize that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and that socialism can work for at least them and as long as they continue to demand more things from the government in the future, having other people pay for it, that their protests and activism will help them over others. This is a bad message for our future. They are basically voting to raise taxes on everyone else so they can get lower costs for college for themselves. Do you see the problem with this?

In other words, what I’m saying to you is if I get a whole bunch of friends together, and we tell the government that we want free iPads and new Corvettes, and we will only vote for the politician that promises us these things so we can have them? No matter that everyone’s taxes will be raised so me and my friend get what we want. You might think that that was an outlandish example, and I’ve taken this argument too far, but essentially it’s the same thing isn’t it?

Further, what bothers me about paying for everyone else’s college, if these college students usually end up voting for left-leaning politicians, because many of the college professors and teachers vote that way, and therefore they are becoming indoctrinated to vote a democrat straight ticket, and that indoctrination I am paying for as a taxpayer as well.

Well as you can see, we just can’t get away from the politics of education, and the lines to the politics are everywhere aren’t they? Right now the unions are lining up to support the Democrats, and the taxpayers are getting tired of paying for underfunded pensions, Cadillac health care benefits or government employees, and the demands of some of these unions. It’s almost an outright street brawl, and in some places it’s already come to blows. At some point we have to realize that it’s not about the teachers unions, or the voters, it’s about a good healthy education system to propel this great nation forward.

2.) Why Don’t We Teach Kids Economics in High School, and Make Sure They Can Balance a Checkbook before Graduating?

Have you ever considered that perhaps we could have foregone the real estate debacle if people had just understood simple interest, and amortized loans? What if people knew how to make a family budget, knew how to do their own taxes without taking them to a tax preparer, or had better understood business cycles and economics? If so, fewer people would’ve engaged in liar loans, or no doc loans, to buy homes they would’ve realized that when you borrow money, you have to pay it back. If you lie about how much money you make, and take the loan anyway, that you will not be able to repay it.

Worse, many folks took out ARM loans, this is where the payments start out low, and increase after a few years. Those type of loans are really good for commercial construction because companies can build a building such as a carwash, restaurant, or some other commercial building and make lower payments until they get the business occupied, and up and running and making money. There are lots of good reasons for these types of loans, but they aren’t so good for single-family dwellings, especially to low income people, or people who could barely qualify anyway.

Some of the people who bought homes on these ARM Loans didn’t even have enough money to buy a chicken coop for $1400 much less a $400,000 home. However, with loans easy to get, and so many people willing to take those loans thinking they could flip those homes and sell them for more as the market kept pushing prices up – you can see why that was unsustainable, even if Wall Street found a way to repackage those loans which were not worth the paper they were printed on to sell them as investment vehicles.

The whole thing was bound to crash, and even Alan Greenspan mentioned; “I can’t believe bankers would act like that,” and yes, neither can I except; those bankers only held those mortgages for a very short amount of time before they were bundled and sold again. Of course, this also gets back to personal responsibility, financial management, and an understanding the value of money. One could ask what on earth are we teaching in the schools, and why did people take those loans out in the first place?

Well, there was an interesting article the Wall Street Journal on October 20, 2012 by Matthew Dolan which was titled; “Teaching the ABCs of College Costs – As Rising Tuition Puts More Students Deeper in Debt, Schools Offer Courses to Explain Their Budgets, Financial-Aid Plans.” Well, that’s good isn’t it? Why do I say that? It’s because I see a bubble brewing with college tuition and the trillion dollars of student debt which is now outstanding, 10% of that is in default. That means $100 billion, and this is the start of the big bubble burst.

All the while, these kids are getting out of college sometimes with $100,000 worth of student loans, but no jobs. Next, we have the Obama Administration telling everyone they need to go to college, and that all of our high schools need to prepare kids to go to college. Why I ask? If there are no jobs when they get out, we’ve essentially put them into economic enslavement, and they will not be able to pay their student loans. There is no honor in recommending that to the next generation of kids coming up.

Further, where it is good that some of these colleges are doing this and offering these courses, any prudent, reasonable, and responsible consumer, college student, or parent should have already considered all this. Are people really that dumb, that they can’t figure this out without someone teaching a class to explain it to them? I find that rather unfortunate. After all, the same people are voters, which might make sense now seeing as half of our population are busy voting for socialists who are promising them things which will never occur at the time when we are approaching a financial debt cliff. Do you see my point yet?

4.) Politicians and Sociologists Tell Us That the Path to Success Is Going to College and We Must Not Deny Immigrants or Minorities the Opportunity

But again, I ask; is going to college really an opportunity? Or is it just an opportunity to enter economic enslavement? There was an interesting article in the LA times on 10-14-2012 which was titled; “Some Are in Denial About Precarious State of Schools – rate readers blame illegal immigrants, union, officials and more. But if prop 30 and 38 fail, the situation will be dire,” by Steve Lopez. Nevertheless, why should taxpayers give more money to an unsustainable situation? It’s not working as it is, why throw more money at it? And realize this is out here in California, but the same issue are going on across the nation.

The presidential candidates seem to think that the federal government can help out? But in the last four years the Obama Administration has already been deficit spending by $1 trillion per year. The federal government can’t even bail itself out, how is it supposed to bail out our schools unless our economy gets back on its feet? And how can our government get back on its feet if everyone keeps voting for socialist type initiatives, getting free stuff, more social programs, all paid by the government? Who’s paying for that? If we keep raising taxes, people will have fewer dollars to spend on goods and services therefore there will be fewer people employed making those goods or providing service.

That means all the people getting out of school won’t have jobs, they will not be available, but those kids will still have $100,000 in student tuition debt. Can anyone see this isn’t working? Do you know why? It’s because socialism doesn’t work, and we need to get the federal government out of our schools, but because this is such a serious issue. Since parents and communities aren’t getting satisfaction locally, they are looking for the federal government to step in. But may I ask; when has the federal government ever done anything right in any program they’ve ever done nationwide?

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