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The government's college money pit
Boston Globe ^ | April 29, 2012 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 04/29/2012 4:29:17 AM PDT by reaganaut1

IF INSANITY is doing the same thing again and again but expecting a different outcome, then the federal government's strategy for keeping higher education affordable is crazier than Norman Bates.

For decades, American politicians have waxed passionate on the need to put college within every family's reach. To ensure that anyone who wants to go to college will be able to foot the bill, Washington has showered hundreds of billions of dollars into student aid of all kinds -- grants and loans, subsidized work-study jobs, tax credits and deductions. Today, that shower has become a monsoon. As Neal McCluskey points out in a Cato Institute white paper, government outlays intended to hold down the price of a college degree have ballooned, in inflation-adjusted dollars, from $29.6 billion in 1985 to $139.7 billion in 2010: an increase of 372 percent since Ronald Reagan's day.

Most of that prodigious growth is very recent. The College Board, which tracks each type of financial assistance in a comprehensive annual report, shows total federal aid soaring by more than $100 billion in the space of a single decade -- from $64 billion in 2000 to $169 billion in 2010. (The College Board's data, unlike Cato's, includes higher-education tax credits and deductions.)

And what have we gotten for this vast investment in college affordability? Colleges that are more unaffordable than ever.

Year in, year out, Washington bestows tuition aid on students and their families. Year in, year out, the cost of tuition surges, galloping well ahead of inflation. And year in, year out, politicians vie to outdo each other in promising still more public subsidies that will keep higher education within reach of all.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: college; collegetuition; debt; education; financialaid; homeschooling; studentloandebt; studentloans

1 posted on 04/29/2012 4:29:24 AM PDT by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1
The cost of education is unsustainable throughout the entire range from preschool, to post graduate levels, and even to mass media. We have been funding the enemies of freedom with that money. There are two very simple programs by which to collapse that cost.

Here's my k-12 program, starting with this piece I wrote as a speech for Bill Simon in 2002 (one that he never had the guts to use):

Education is the most critical issue in California, more serious than even the budget crisis. When Gray Davis first ran for Governor, he promised that Education was to be his highest three priorities, but instead Mr. Davis has shown us what they really were all along: Re-Election, Re-Election, and Re-Election. What were the results? Education spending per student has increased nearly 30%, while classroom performance remains relatively unimproved and at the bottom of a nation producing a third rate primary and secondary education product. The system is broken and the State is nearly bankrupt. So what can we do?

One answer is to free California’s teachers from the overwhelming power of national unions. Teachers should have a choice whether or not to support an often radical political agenda. Unlike Gray Davis, if you elect me Governor of California, I will enforce the law that prohibits unions from requiring campaign contributions in dues payments without teacher’s permission (Beck (487 US 735), 1988).

Second, we must reverse the trend toward large unified school districts that has effectively excluded parents from affecting public school decisions. The purpose of consolidation was supposedly to reduce the cost of overhead through economies of scale and to strengthen the districts’ collective bargaining power, but that isn’t how it has turned out. Instead, district bureaucracies have become enormous and the resulting issues are so complex that parents are pushed aside by an organizational machine controlled by union lawyers.

I plan to assist formation of corporate service associations for school districts so that they can divest operations into smaller, more personalized institutions while retaining the organizational muscle to deal with the unions. Smaller school districts will give parents a stronger voice on district boards over the issues that matter to them. The principle need to make this possible is to develop programs for children with special needs. Here is where can turn to parents for solutions.

Some would argue that parents on local School Boards aren’t qualified to make administrative decisions about public education, especially over programs for children with developmental challenges. So, I’d like to talk about an education success-story that not only proves that argument wrong, it points toward a total transformation in public education.

Home education is enjoying a renaissance in America, and religious freedom isn’t the principle reason. Parents are choosing to home school to assure educational excellence for their children, whose learning habits they know best. A family bond of patience and discipline is a critical factor in student success, especially in a challenging situation. What many people don't know about home-schools is that they have a high percentage of students with genetic, behavioral, and developmental disabilities that had often been poorly served by public institutions. Even with that statistical disadvantage, SAT, ACT, and STAR test scores strongly indicate that home education is producing superior results across the entire spectrum of individual ability.

So parents ARE competent to make choices about their children’s education, and home schools successfully manage nearly every type of specialized educational problem. So what are they doing right that we can apply to public institutions?

As home-educators have grown in number, they have been organizing into loosely knit education cooperatives that point to a new form of public education: a decentralized, customer-oriented network for lifelong learning, using products customized to meet individual interests and abilities. That promises what 21st Century public education could really become: a multi-disciplinary market of customized learning products and services.

We are already starting to see the effects of this change. Software and curriculum companies are finding a growing market of customers committed to gaining competitive advantage. Colleges and universities are offering online degrees because they need superior students to assure productive alumnae. Superior teachers could get rich transmitting their ideas and methods to a mass-market. Where better to develop those products and sell them to the world than California?

We can use private and home education as if they were R&D laboratories developing and testing proven learning tools and services. Public school parents on school boards could then select those products that the State would fund for use in public schools. It is a gradual transformation, from experimenting on our children with untested academic theories, to contracting for innovative tools and methods that have been proven in the marketplace.

All we have to do is let it happen and keep government from regulating new educational methods out of existence. If you elect me Governor, that is what I will do. Federal education dollars aren’t worth the price of Federal control and bureaucratic requirements. Private and home education both leave the State with more money to spend per-child and provide a competitive incentive for public schools to keep their customers.

Together, let’s help California rise from the ashes of a broken system and lead the way once again, into a world of exciting possibilities for our children. Now, that program would bring real change. In sum,

  1. Enforce the U.S. Supreme Court decision re Communications Workers v. Beck (487 US 735, 1988).
  2. Assist formation of corporate service associations. Offer State funding for local school districts to divest into smaller, more personalized institutions.
  3. Use the private and home education market to develop and test learning tools and services. Private validation services could assess product performance against product claims. School boards would be free to select guaranteed products for use in public schools.
  4. Insurance on the guarantee would cover the cost of remedial education if the product fails to meet warranted performance.
  5. Veto any bill requiring home and private educators to conform to State teacher certification standards.
  6. Veto any bill requiring State supervision of home schools.
  7. Analyze any Federal program for insufficient funds and unintended consequences suspecting unfunded mandates. Cite New York v. United States (505 US 144, 1992).

Oh, but that's not enough. This little move would finish the job:

Envision a small shop in a strip mall: "We Test." We Test tests, and how. We Test tests are no joke, indeed; they're hard. REALLY hard. We Test guarantees that any person who can pass their tests can perform as specified with an insured guarantee. If the person you hire fails to perform to those specifications within the term of the guarantee, We Test pays the cost of hiring and training a replacement.

Any human then could use any means imaginable to acquire the necessary knowledge to pass We Test tests. Any school would do, no accreditation required. The Internet is loaded with coursework and curricula, libraries and lab-simulators. Any human with the drive and intelligence to learn on their own could then qualify for a job. No saving for decades, no brainwashing, completely transferable work, at any pace one can withstand. Any employer could then simply select from a menu of We Test specifications instead of a diploma, at any level. We Test tests.

One would think that this should have happened a long time ago, but in fact there is one thing standing in the way that makes the realization of this seeming inevitability a matter of now or never.

State licensing requires degreed credentials obtainable only at said profligate, bureaucratic and unaccountable institutions charging outrageous fees and demanding excessive time as only a State monopoly could command. Why not just amend the legislation specifying education for state licensure by adding the simple words, "or equivalent"?

As an example of how little it would take, consider my wife. She just passed her board certification exam as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. She walked into H&R Block, sat at a computer, took a three-hour exam harder than anything she'd endured in her Masters' Program at Cal State San Francisco, and within five minutes after completion had her passing grade. If the private system can handle a test that specialized, why can't it test arithmetic, algebra, US history, or college chemistry? Instead of bricks and mortar, it would be e-books in quarters. Why not?

Yep, educrat monopolists really think outside the box all righty, only as long as you can stick the rest of us for their lousy product.

5 posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2011 10:17:12 AM by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded") [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies | Report Abuse]

2 posted on 04/29/2012 4:48:31 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (The RINOcrat Party is still in charge. There has never been a conservative American government.)
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To: reaganaut1

It’s “crazy” because most of us assume that the dialogue remains about our kids “education”. What We the People assume about this issue is NOT what the Feds assume.....

3 posted on 04/29/2012 4:51:29 AM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: Carry_Okie

The G’ment is using our tax dollars to indoctrinate the liberal zombies produced in “education”.This is another example of the lefts consolidation of power.

4 posted on 04/29/2012 4:52:53 AM PDT by rsobin
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To: reaganaut1

Most of the money fund administration, not teachers. Class room supplies are bought by most teachers in large districts, while admin blows money like a sailor on special fact finding trips. We need to break up the districts.

5 posted on 04/29/2012 4:57:28 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: reaganaut1

Most of the money fund administration, not teachers. Class room supplies are bought by most teachers in large districts, while admin blows money like a sailor on special fact finding trips. We need to break up the districts.

6 posted on 04/29/2012 4:58:03 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum

What we need are state legislatures to walk in and ask stupid questions. All state-run colleges are simply an extension of the state. If a state-run college is stupid enough to hand out $2 million for a football need to ask what business the college is really in.

7 posted on 04/29/2012 5:00:51 AM PDT by pepsionice
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To: reaganaut1
The problem in a nutshell:

"Federal financial aid is a major source of revenue for colleges and universities, and aid packages are generally based on the gap between what a family can afford to pay to send a student to a given college, and the tuition and fees charged by that college."

"That gives schools every incentive to keep their tuition unaffordable. Why would they reduce their sticker price to a level more families could afford, when doing so would mean kissing millions of government dollars goodbye?"

8 posted on 04/29/2012 5:19:01 AM PDT by Right_in_Virginia
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To: reaganaut1

College students are the new sharecroppers in America.

9 posted on 04/29/2012 5:22:20 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: pepsionice

Most big State college football programs are $$ makers for the school. Winning teams also draw in big contributions from Alumni.

Here are the main problems:
— Professors who make big salaries, but only teach 1-2 classes per semester (just Fall & Spring — not summer). This is sustainable if they bring in grants to cover their time, but many don’t.
— Administrators up the wazoo. Deans, associate & assistant deans, vice provosts, vice president for Diversity, etc, etc. And, of course, these people all need secretaries, assistants, and student helpers.
— Health care and pensions for all of the above.
— Building sprees. New facilities do help bring in students. But the fact that some colleges take it to excess drives most colleges to try to keep up (whether they can afford it or not).
— Student perks. Cafeterias that resemble cruise ship buffets. The ability to get an omlet at 2AM. When I was an undergrade, we got 3 meals per day in a lunch line that looked like the one in my high school.
— Charging more for an online course (taught by an adjunct professor) than for an in-residence course. Many schools do this.

Truth in advertising: I’m a college professor.

10 posted on 04/29/2012 5:31:51 AM PDT by rbg81
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To: reaganaut1

What industry has prices that don’t go through the roof, when government subsidizes the cost for them, out of “concern for the less fortunate”?

11 posted on 04/29/2012 5:34:20 AM PDT by H.Akston (Sandra Fluke is more like a looter than a slut. At least a slut gives something for what she takes.)
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To: rbg81

Oh, a couple more things:

— Pseudo-academic centers - These things are started to explore a niche area that was hot once, but is now a $$ drain on the university. Unfortunately, like Government programs, once started, these are difficult to kill.

— Theft - Newer computers, printers, and flat panel displays, etc are attractive targets for thieves. At my school, theft is a big problem.

— Campus Security - Once a sleepy operation run by retired police officers, many Campus Security departments resemble modern police departments. Unfortunately, this is driven by increased incidents of violence and theft.

12 posted on 04/29/2012 5:41:09 AM PDT by rbg81
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To: Carry_Okie


13 posted on 04/29/2012 5:41:24 AM PDT by Weirdad (Don't put up with ANY voter fraud...)
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To: pepsionice

For football schools, the are the farm league for the NFL. Look at Florida. They are shutting down there comp sci department.
I love college football, but they do a disservice to everyone involved.n many of those players would never be allowed in if they didn’t play ball.

14 posted on 04/29/2012 6:13:00 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: reaganaut1

Money laundering for the Demoncrat/Socialists...

15 posted on 04/29/2012 10:46:26 AM PDT by Shady (The undeniable truth of the Obama Administration...The numbers do not lie.)
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