Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/14/educated-electorate.html
Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/14/educated-electorate.html
I’m not looking for free stuff or government hand outs.
I would like our nation to have a highly educated work force, and for the next generation to be prepared to be productive (tax paying) members of society.
In before the what-about-me-who-paid comments.
I paid several 10’s of thousands of dollars for my university education through loans and cash and I’d be happy if current folks got their student debt cancelled.
I am quite sure I will get a lot of benefit from a well educated populace, especially if they are not crushed under debt after they get their education.
Even from a selfish “what about me?” perspective this kind of program makes good sense. I am sorry the benefits to you are not as obvious as getting cash.
Same way I am happy to pay my property taxes for public schools even though I have no kids, nor do I plan on having any.
Finally paid off my loans last year, and fully support tuition-free university and debt cancellation.
Now that they can’t claim these proposals are "unpopular, I’m sure the Third-Way Dem contingent – especially those over age 55 – will respond with the usual gaslighting and disingenuous comments and analysis about how these policies are (in order of their disproval) “impossible”, then “unfair”, then fundamentally “immoral” (the last invoking the old Protestant Work Ethic).
I hadn’t yet heard anyone specifically say HBCUs were also on the table. What a fantastic idea.
I’m not against this, exactly, but it certainly isn’t a magic wand and there are thing to consider:
It doesn’t cover room & board or books & supplies. So if you want to be debt-free, you’ll still have to work or be supported by your parents. (BTW, working while in school is a great way to lower your GPA by a point.)
I’ve seen estimates (based on SAT scores) that we could increase the number of people in college by 50% without lowering standards. We don’t know how many of these students would choose to come to college if tuition were free but, right now, we don’t have room for them in the dorms or the classrooms.
Presumably, those student tuition dollars are now going to come from the federal government? The same amount of money?
They’ve been careful because that links general college debt forgiveness to the concept of reparations, and we can’t have that. In discussions like this, conservatives will jump on any opportunity to tell their base “see, it sounds good, but this is really all about libruls giving your money to undeserving black people.”
We don’t know how many of these students would choose to come to college if tuition were free but, right now, we don’t have room for them in the dorms or the classrooms.
 as they say
Those costs exist, but they can be addressed by other means. The textbook companies, for example, are ripe for an investigation into monopolistic business practises. Affordable housing is, of course, a more general societal problem that’s already being looked at.
The point of these proposals regarding tuition and college debt forgiveness is not to be a complete solution and elimination of debt but to address a major component of an unsustainable situation by simultaneously attacking it from a number of angles. We can see what happened when loans to students at for-profit scam “universities” got cut off: fewer students in ruinous life-long debt, and the for-profit “college” sector quickly shrinking as their raison d’etre (milking the student loan business) was cut off.
The question is, does that number of people in post-secondary academia (as opposed to vocational and certification schools) need to be increased by anything close to that amount? Not only are a lot of small colleges closing, as @TacoChucks points out above, but the fact remains that not everyone needs a traditional college or university education. That will only become more evident as the neoliberal/meritocratic consensus is increasingly shown to be irrelevant in the face of societal changes (including those wrought by the over-extension of said consensus).
If anything, the remaining reputable universities (at least those without huge endowments) need to be reminded that they aren’t for-profit enterprises and that building more dorms or classrooms or attractive amenities (all of which activities have contributed to increased tuition costs over the past decades) and investing their manpower dollars in administrators and business executives instead of instructors is not the way to go if they want to make their institutions accessible and useful to the kinds of students they select for.
Perhaps. If Il Douche can steal billions of dollars from the U.S. military for his stupid, useless wall, I’m sure similar amounts could be taken to apply to free at point of payment tuition and debt forgiveness (both of which would arguably add more to national security than F-35s for which the money will somehow always be found).
The way to win an economic war with adversary countries is to first have a well educated (university, community college and especially trade school) populace. This puts you in a position to develop and make whatever you need to outperform other nations. Free tuition at all state schools would greatly advance this.
Of course, it also gives you a middle class that’s capable of critical thinking, so the Republican Party definitely won’t support it.
Welp, I picked just the right time to have an academic career didn’t I? /s
I think that’s true, IF you believe that a college education is solely about job training. The more we educate the public, the more robust our democracy is, the higher the quality of life outside of work. We need more than just well-trained workers if we’re going to dig ourselves out of the neo-liberal nonsense. Hell, the idea that college is just “job training” IS itself neo-liberal nonsense, as you know.
I’m all about thinking hard about where the university should go from here, both selfishly, as I’d like a job in the future (and those of us who do the humanities/soft sciences are more vulnerable and have less options outside the university than our hard science colleagues). But also, I think that a society that values the production of knowledge, that values critical thinking, true exchanges of ideas, and diversity of experiences informing all of that is a better society for us to live in.
That’s a very cold war mindset. It’s a key reason why the university system grew in the first place in the post war period. But there are other, better reasons that have nothing to do with geo-political concerns, which is improving the quality of life for all of us. The ability to think outside the box, critically, about social problems, will help to lead to better solutions to the problems that everyone on this planet faces together.
Considering a TN GOP member recently called to end the university system in TN, that’s true.
Neither does a status quo program of high personal cost private tuition.
Free tuition also wouldn’t buy everyone a scarf and hat when it gets cold. But that’s not a compelling strike against it.
I have 2 kids in college right now. It is a heavy debt. One has to borrow but we pay boarding and food. That is ok. They have to earn it.
I wonder if it is free who is going to pay for it??? Tax payers of course.
It is somewhat a cold war mindset, but is nonetheless true; an educated (read actually functionally capable) populace can be used to deal with changes and growth with less spinning in place as happens with so much problem solving now.
As Il Douche said, “I love uneducated people!”
Taxpayers already pay into the education system, and a lot of that money goes into paying for administrators of student loan systems instead of teachers and classrooms.
Wouldn’t you want your kids to have a better education for the same (or cheaper) price to society-at-large?
It’s true if you only believe that the goal of an education is to serve the power structure, I’d argue. And it’s exactly the Cold War mindset. Prior to the Cold War, a college education was much more restricted to the elite, and more seen as leadership training. The process of opening up academia to the masses had started prior to the war, but it really opened up after world war 2, with the GI Bill funding a new wave of college graduates, and the general postwar economic expansion allowing more boomers across the class spectrum to go to college. As a result there was massive growth of the public and private university systems across the country. You saw direct investment from the Federal government, too, not just in grants and the like, but also in shaping various programs. The science programs get more attention, but in the humanities and soft sciences too. You needed people who understood the history and culture of Russia or China for example, so those programs were favored to pump out experts in those fields (area studies). Of course, the boomer backlash against the cozy relationship between the government and university system changed the game, and that’s where you get the anti-intellectualism of conservative elements, because rather than becoming white collar members of the establishment aimed at winning the cold war through superior production of knowledge, many instead became activists aimed at informing the public about the very real problems of exercising power through the production of knowledge.
Of course, the university is still really the handmaiden to power, but it created enough intellectual rebels to get academia painted as a bastion of radicalism that it never was and still is not.
TLDR, We can do lots better with the academia than to advance some narrow geopolitical agenda, especially considering how many of the problems we face are shared by everyone else on the planet, no matter where they are. I will say, it’s an argument that will get more attention, but the reality is that we have issues that we have to work together on.
Yep, but he’s just the latest in the chain of right wingers railing against the “intellectual elites” that supposedly “look down on” the common man. This has been a steady drum beat of the GOP for a long time.
Yes, that is one way as a society that we fund large scale projects that we as individuals have a hard time doing alone, with taxes. And like anything else, the quality of something is directly related to how well funded it is. An educated work population is a net benefit to society. You benefit by having people you know (not just your kids) and people you don’t have an education into the college level.
We never seem to have too big of a problem when wanting to spend tax money on things - roads, walls, tanks, etc. But if we invest in people suddenly it’s going to destroy America.