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Back to the Pipe and the Pole

Here is a letter I received a few days ago from the President of my University.

Last summer, I formed an advisory task force to assist the University in developing a plan to prepare for probable reductions in state funding for higher education and to assist the University in developing a new instructional resource model. The task force consists of faculty, academic deans, administrators, and staff.

On December 18, 2010, the task force held an open forum. At that forum, Provost Mearns, who is co-chair of the task force, discussed the status of the task force’s efforts to assist in developing a contingency plan for next year’s budget. I attended the forum.

Since then, the task force has continued to provide me with additional recommendations. Those recommendations are detailed in a written report that is now available on the task force’s webpage.

This report recommends overall budget target ranges for each of the University’s major sectors: academic colleges, academic support units, and university administrative units. I have accepted these sector recommendations. In December, I provided differentiated budget targets to each of the vice presidents who manage university administrative units, and I directed them to prepare a contingency plan to meet their unit’s respective target. They have submitted their plans to me, which I am currently reviewing.

The task force’s report also provided specific recommendations about differentiated targets for each of the academic colleges. After developing a list of strategic factors and applying those factors to readily available data, the task force assigned each academic college to one of three groups, or bands. As discussed in the report, a college or an administrative unit can meet its proposed budget target through both permanent expense reductions and reliable revenue enhancements.

After reviewing an initial draft of the report, I met at length with Provost Mearns, Vice President George Walker and Tim Long, the University’s Budget Director, to review the strategic factors and the data relied upon by the task force to develop its differentiated recommendations for each of the academic colleges. In making my decisions, I relied upon the same strategic factors developed by the task force, including: how a college’s programs aligned with the University’s primary strategic goals; a college’s financial performance relative to the other colleges at the University; the extent to which a college has programs, including doctoral programs, with relatively few students; an assessment of the productivity and impact of the college’s research faculty; the success of a college’s students as measured by undergraduate retention and graduation rates and post-graduate licensing exams; and the ability of a college to develop differential tuition plans or increase enrollment above existing limits.

After this review, I accepted all of the task force’s recommendations with respect to the colleges’ budget targets, with one exception. I have delegated to Provost Mearns the responsibility of establishing differentiated targets for the various academic support units that report to him.

Provost Mearns has communicated the college targets to the deans, and he has asked them to provide him with their college’s plan by February 22, 2011. He has also directed the deans to consult with their respective faculties and staff in developing their college’s plan.

By early March, I anticipate that our collective strategy for meeting this financial challenge will begin to become more clear. Governor Kasich will present his proposed budget to the legislature on or before March 15. I anticipate that, when his budget is released, we will know much more about two of the most important factors that are driving this process: the approximate amount of any reduction in the state subsidy for higher education, and the limit on any possible increase in undergraduate tuition. By that time, we will also have had an opportunity to evaluate the various college and administrative plans that have been submitted.

When we have more information from the Governor, I will hold an open forum in March to discuss our University plan.

I know that this process is difficult and that it is causing some anxiety and uncertainty. I believe, however, that we have established a collaborative and transparent process that will enable the University to overcome this challenge. Indeed, I am encouraged by the constructive contributions that so many of you have already made to our contingency planning process. Therefore, I am confident that we will emerge from this process as a stronger institution — which is our goal.

Thank you for your service to our students, our University, and our community.

Indeed. To those of you who still believe in the American Dream, let me explain how it really works for you. Say Jane wants to grow up and become a Doctor. But Jane and her family live piss poor, so she works hard in High School, gets good grades in accelerated courses and takes part in track and cheerleading or some such other extracurricular nonsense that will look good on college applications. She gets accepted into a good school and manages to keep from getting pregnant. What a stand up gal Jane is, don’t you think? She gets some scholarships. Good for her! She gets Pell Grants and subsidized and unsubsidized loans through FAFSA. That’s our girl.

Before you know it she is accepted into Harvard Medical School and graduates with honors. Bravo! The problem is, now Jane has upwards of $200,000 worth of student loans to pay back. She gets married and begins practice as a pediatrician, her lifelong dream. But it will be a while before she begins to really rake in the dough and there are medical malpractice lawsuits on the horizon. Nonetheless, she and her husband, a college professor, are living well, having babies and attending church on Sundays. Everything seems fine until disaster strikes. Her mother is still piss poor and has just suffered from a stroke. A neighbor finds her laying face down in her apartment surrounded by urine and her own feces. Jane’s mother is admitted to the hospital and is soon discharged. Incontinent, paralyzed from the waist down and unable to take care of herself, Jane’s mother is just above the income threshold for medicaid and there are limited funds. She has no Health Insurance and therefore cannot afford to live in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility, so Jane has to quit her job to take care of her mother, as her husband is unwilling to quit his. The financial problems caused by the fact that Jane can no longer supplement the family income as well as the demands of taking care of a sick elderly woman takes a toll on their marriage, and Jane’s husband starts banging his secretary. They get a divorce and the children are heartbroken. Jane is now a single mother with no job. She still has student loans and legal fees to pay back, no home because she can’t afford a mortgage, and three kids to put through college. Her oldest daughter Sarah is devastated by the break up of her family and commits suicide. Three months later, Jane’s mother dies due to inadequate medical care. Jane’s American Dream has turned into an American Nightmare.

Sounds extreme, right? Wrong. Things like this are happening everywhere. I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to pay for college, and I will explain why. Most people have an idea of the average college student’s financial situation. A freshman will have mom and dad foot most of the bill and private loans will take care of the rest, right?


Take me for example. I graduated from that Shithole High School a semester early with decent grades and community service. Go me, right? I figured I might as well try to go to college, so I briefly (and by briefly, I mean for about two seconds) thought about going into the military and even told the Hell Hole High School that those were my plans so they would let me graduate early. I took the ASVAB tests and got excellent scores, fielding calls from every military branch recruiter known to man telling me to join so I could become an officer. Of course, I am not going to go into the Military. I am a pacifist. So I changed my phone number to get rid of the recruiters and enrolled at the local junior college, with plans to save money on Gen Eds in mind. Problem was, my Dad makes too much money for me to get FAFSA and we are somewhat estranged. I had to work my tail off and go to School part time so I could get taken off of his tax returns, as a student has to be enrolled in school full time to be on their parents tax returns after they’re eighteen and to still be on their parents health insurance plan.

In any case, I no longer have Health Insurance but now that I’m off his taxes I go to School overtime, supplemented by a hefty financial aid award. But get this!

President Obama and his aides have spent a good bit of time over the last several weeks talking about the importance of education. Now they announce that they plan to cut spending on Pell grants, the big student-aid program that helps students in (roughly) the bottom half of the income distribution. As Jackie Calmes explains:

Pell grants for needy college students would be eliminated for summer classes, and graduate students would start accruing interest immediately on federal loans, though they would not have to pay until after they graduate; both changes are intended to help save $100 billion over 10 years to offset the costs of maintaining Pell grants for nine million students, according to administration officials.

Oh, fantastic! Keep in mind that my situation is not unique. Many students are like me, with families either too poor or too unwilling to help pay for school. I have a friend, for example, who had to run away from home when she was in Hell High School because her Step Father was beating her mother. She supported herself with two jobs and help from family and friends until she graduated, and now she has classes with me. I don’t know how she does it, because she is forced by FAFSA to file as a dependent even though she receives no help from her family and supports herself completely. She is awarded funds based on the assumption that her parents help her when in reality she has to pay for full time school as well as everything else.

And why is it that school is so expensive? Gods only know. The cost of living has increased exponentially since my parents were in college. It is easy for some stuck-in-the past 1950’s holdover to lecture one of us stupid delinquent teenagers about how THEY did it when they were our age so why can’t we? Well, I feel like saying to these idiots, you’re the ignorant fools who elected conservative Presidents and congresses for the past several decades and caused the inflation and budget cuts that led to all of these problems. Get over yourself.

Not only that, but tuition is obscenely expensive since now colleges are run more like businesses instead of academic institutions that shape young minds and prepare the leaders of tomorrow. I have to pay thousands of dollars for Professors to teach me the same bull shit I’ve been learning since the sixth grade (which is not to say I don’t learn a lot in College these days from certain professors, but I digress) and then once I and many students have paid several more thousands to complete an undergraduate degree two thirds of us STILL won’t be able to get a job. And people wonder why our education system is so behind.

Well, one might say, you may not be achieving all of your fancy starry eyed dreams but at least you are bettering yourself for the real world. Maybe you’ll be a hospital administrator instead of a chemical engineer but at least you have the right to a comfortable lifestyle and a reasonable retirement, right? Wrong.

So far, Obama has had the following “bright ideas” and has proposed them to Congress:

(1) Obama proposed (and Congress passed) a $112 Billion REDUCTION in revenues coming into the Social Security trust fund for this year; that is a cut of 30% in workers’ contributions to the Fund. I think we can be pretty sure this $112 Billion annual cut in Social Security taxes will be made permanent with the full agreement of Obama. It won’t take long, at that rate, for Social Security to drain its fund (and current surplus) and go out of business.

(2) Obama has proposed a 50% REDUCTION in federal aid to the program that helps poor people pay heating bills for their homes

(3) Obama is proposing that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac go out of business, which will make it harder — if not impossible — for lower-income and middle-income people to buy their homes instead of paying endless rents

(4) Obama is proposing that the interest homeowners pay for their mortgages NO longer be fully deductible on their income taxes. In the early years of any mortgage, the bulk of the monthly mortgage payment goes to pay the interest on the mortgage; having that great sum be deductible has made it possible for people to buy homes and not default on their mortgages when finances are tight (as they often are when new homeowners are just starting out).

The result of Obama’s “bright” ideas, numbers (3) and (4), will be to make it harder for current homeowners to SELL their homes, will DEFLATE the value of their homes, will cause more people to default on their mortgages, and will create a situation where communities will take in LESS in the way of property taxes because of the number of vacant, abandoned homes that will become liabilities.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
And Obama is doing all of this cutting less than two months after signing into law tax CUTS for the wealthiest Americans.

The Republicans have the EXACT right Democrat in the White House for their evil purposes. Obama is: (1) helping the Republicans realize their decades-long goal of destroying the Social Security program, (2) proposing policies that will create an even wider division between the “haves” and “have-nots” in America, and (3)proposing policies that will create a sub-class of Americans that the top one percent of Americans will be able to reduce to economic slavery.

That’s right. So long house in the ‘burbs. Bye bye white picket fence, 2.4 children and Labrador Retriever. S’later retirement fund, pensions, IRA. Hi poverty, what it do destitution? We’re the leaders of tomorrow. Nice to meetcha!

It just won’t do. Obama is a Republican Dream, not an American Dream. Why, just look at the cover of one of his famous “books.”

The Audacity of Nope

To Obama, this is the American Dream. Jane’s life would be everyone’s life with the policies he is currently championing. Can you believe this is happening? Well, I can. I’ve been saying who Obama is from the get-go. All it took was reading his idea of the American Dream in the pages of this book, where he talked about cutting Social Security and used Reagan as an example of a President to emulate. He’s stuck to his word, too. And has managed to unite this divided nation of ours- against him. On the 100the anniversary of Reagan’s whatever it was I was subjected to fawning book covers and pages about Obama’s hero for days. And now he is cutting Social Security with his bipartisan Republican pals, just like he promised.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t jive with the Obama the fauxgressives were selling us. This whole thing just isn’t going to work for me. I’m sure it won’t work for a lot of you, either, so run for office instead of electing more morons who will continue to pull this crap on us and expect to get reelected. My plan is to go to Law School and try to change these problems from within instead of sitting here and bitching about it.

But Isis, I can hear some people saying. Law School is expensive. You depend on those Pell Grants Obama and the Tea Party losers are cutting left and right and spending on unnecessary wars, a shitty Health Care Law and Michelle’s vacations in Spain to pay for your tuition, books and other fees. Won’t you be just like Jane, busting your hump for a dismal future? What are you going to do?

Well, shit. Whatever FAFSA doesn’t cover anymore I’ll supplement with scholarships. I just got a job that will pay for my Master’s Degree in Social Work so long as I get a good GPA. And certain agencies and non profits in my field of study will pay back all of my tuition if I end up working for them. As for the rest, it’s back to the pole and the pipe. And don’t think I’ll be the only one.

52 Responses

  1. Very passionate post friend. 🙂 I can only wish you good luck keeping your gpa high enough to get through it all.

    On a practical level, my GF had the same problems your friend seems to be having
    ” I don’t know how she does it, because she is forced by FAFSA to file as a dependent even though she receives no help from her family and supports herself completely”

    If I remember correctly, it was an age thing, she was young enough they were required to assume she was a dependent. It took her almost a year, but she was able to prove he was useless and eventually she got more help.

    • Thanks! I’ll mention it to my buddy!

    • I would suspect though proving this will be even harder when Obamacare kicks in. Financial Aid used to consider a kid a dependent unless *she* was married until the age of 24; in the mid-late 90’s this was raised to 26 yo, unless married. Now, Obamacare has coverage for those up to age 26 regardless of marital status. As such the financial aid award was still dependent upon the parent sharing the tax statements for the *independent* student who was even fully self-sufficient and worked in the workforce for a considerable period of time. Even when applying to grad school. Is it that much of a stretch to think this won’t apply to financial aid awards as an increase in restrictions will inevitably increase as a form of budget saving measures?

  2. It isn’t your high school that is a shit/hell hole (horrible though it undoubtedly was, as they all are), but this benighted, doomed country.

  3. George Carlin had it right, but everyone just thought he was being funny.

    • Aww, George Carlin. wow, that is as pertinent today as it was then.

      Very wise man.

    • They own all the he big media companies; nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. Yep that’s America today. How else could millions in Michigan and Florida lose their vote in the most important, the most observed primary in a generation and not have the Supreme Court strike it down along (with the criminal caucuses) as un-Constitutional and treasonous in the world’s premier democracy.

      • Elimination of the Fairness Doctrine was yet another of the “wonderful” innovations of the Reagan years. Throw in Citizens United and various other changes over the past thirty years and the US is rapidly becoming an oligarchy disguised asa “Democracy in Name Only” (Bob Herbert.).

        The last two Presidents reached office in debatable fashion (“Bush v. Gore”, MI/FL?caucus fraud). We’ve had the office stolen but never twice in a row.

    • Thanks for this. Needed a dose of snark.

  4. “As for the rest, it’s back to the pole and the pipe. And don’t think I’ll be the only one.”

    Yours are the best words I’ve ever heard describing where this country is headed! – TMarie

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by puma, mbfromhb. mbfromhb said: Back to the Pipe and the Pole « The Confluence http://goo.gl/xI5H6 […]

  6. Hey littleisis, good to “see” you!

    Love your post.

    Thanks for pointing to JohnWSmart – I’ve been thinking the same thing but haven’t been able to find the words…

  7. “It is easy for some stuck-in-the past 1950′s holdover to lecture one of us stupid delinquent teenagers about how THEY did it when they were our age so why can’t we?”
    IIRC, I paid ~$1600 per year for college in the early ’60s. Same Univ, cost is now $46,000+ per year. Calculated by inflation rate since 1964, cost should be $11,000+.

    My great niece is attending a college where the cost is $60,000+ per year. (fortunately she has full scholarship)

    Totally insane….

  8. This is exactly why the Obama apologists make me sick. His main goal is to kill non-rich people to further enrich his rich friends. He’s a piece of shit, cut from the same cloth as George Bush, and there’s no excuse for apologizing or defending him.

  9. OT, but the great Wampum is posting again. Sometimes uber-geek tech stuff on ICANN, but always interesting.

  10. I sure am glad we have a Democrat in the WH. Doing us about as much good as that Dem majority in both houses of Congress! But, of course, that’s ancient history. Now POTUS has a reason to imitate his hero Reagan.

    God is good, life is great! Gotta love the double-speak. Everyone should have a college degree. Only no one can afford it. War is Peace; Ignorance is Strength, yada, yada.

    We’ve entered the Twilight Zone. Just when I thought things couldn’t get anymore bizarre. They do.

    Pell grants are slashed, so I guess money will start falling from the trees. Nutrition programs are cut and food banks shrivel. We have the coldest winter in years, so we save money by cutting fuel subsidies to the poor.

    Meanwhile, endless war is funded, corporations get tax breaks, Big Oil and Agribusiness continue to suck up government subsidies and the top 1% grow richer and fatter.

    What could go wrong???

    It’s like watching a train wreck. You cannot stop it but you know it’s going to be God awful. Yet the people standing around the track are all claiming they don’t see a problem.

    Maybe I need my contact prescription changed :0).

  11. I feel your passion pouring out from this post, young lady, just beautiful. But don’t give up, I work with a young women who just graduated from Temple Law, she worked full time and went to school at night with help from my company, passed the bar in both NJ and PA, felt like it was my own kid when those letters came in the mail!

    That being said, I remember Bill Bennett (he was Secretary of Education under somebody) talking on CNN about government aid to education, and he said the very first thing that happens when the government increases any kind of aid to higher education is that colleges and universities raise their tuition and/or other charges. Wonder if the reverse will be true? Guess I don’t need a sarc tag here.

    • Exactly. Pell Grants used to pay for books so what did the textbook companies do? You guessed it. and Pell only pays for the latest edition. So change a pic or two and /or the cover and voila, it’s anew edition. The latest of course. Ruins the used book market because Pell won’t pay for them. So if the govt is gonna pay what do I care?

    • One problem is that the private universities can raise turition until students stop going. But the population increase and the number of foreign students is keeping butts in the desks.

      If I were on my own, I’d probably find a state university system with low in-state tuition and obtain residency. 80% of my grad school (state college) was paid for by a state grant and my employer, but even they knocked reimbursement down to 75% from 100%.

  12. Screwed and no kisses either. But you can go to a foreign country with lower tuition and get a degree there. Singapore anyone?

    • I remember the stories in the 80s of kids going to Mexican medical schools when they couldn’t get into American ones. Now, I hear about doctors immigrating here and working as cabbies.

  13. I felt sick to my stomach after reading this essay. I am not an economist or business major, not that receiving an education in finance indicates competency in view of the financial meltdown, and have yet to be able to clearly articulate the concerns in my mind about this economy, but I have been troubled for some time by how the cost/worth for something like a car, an education, a CEO of a major corporation, or anything else is arrived at. Over time, I keep thinking that the average worker is more and more devalued. Large multinational companies have gotten more and more control while the unions have been degraded and demonized. It’s as if we are now seeing the evolution of a new feudal like system with the lower /middle class so in debt that they are becoming like indentured servants and end up not having ownership, but living as renters for the rest of their lives.

    Why is it that a moral educated country, which I believe this country is, cannot see the value of someone working, no matter what the job, and desire for them to be able to have a home, educate their children, and be able to care for themselves when sick without having to bankrupt themselves?

    • It’s as if we are now seeing the evolution of a new feudal like system with the lower /middle class so in debt that they are becoming like indentured servants and end up not having ownership, but living as renters for the rest of their lives.

      Yes. Except in the old feudal system the lord actually owed his vassals & tenants protection in return for their loyalty and the modern feudal lords apparently don’t owe us scat.

  14. hang in there and get that degree, but after you have it you might want to consider something besides social work. That is the only profession that pays worse than teaching.
    But then, if you have a passion for it just ignore me and do what you love.
    It is ridiculous that colleges and universities have become big business. Now you need a degree to do someone’s nails. It makes no sense. When cities decide to have people roam the streets picking up dog poop the colleges will offer a degree in poop scooping and you’ll have to go in to dept to get that job. It never fails. And if you want to be low level management in the Shit retrieval dept that will take a masters degree and the head of feces finding and removal will need a PHD.
    I and not comparing your job to poop scooping, I am just disgusted that people have to go in to dept to get a degree in a field and then pray the jobs don’t go over seas.
    If in another life I own a corporation there will be no college educated HR department and most jobs will go to smart people who can do them and I will train my own damn employees.

    • Thanks T. I absolutely love Social Work and a Master’s Degree would afford me with a comfortable enough lifestyle. I am serious when I talk about going to Law School, because my Professors, I mean to say the ones that actually care, understand my spirit of Independence and tell me that’s a lawyer with a background in Social Work can make a very good living.
      And your analogy about getting a PHD to be part of the poop police hits the nail on the head. In my opinion, this is how the man keeps you down. The Colleges and the Banks that give you loans to pay for it charge you obscene interest rates so even if you are in a well paying profession, like Jane for example, it is impossible to get ahead with that combined with the mortgage you have to pay on your house that the banks control as well as credit cards. And god forbid if you want to give your kids a decent education. The shit is all fucked up.

  15. The biggest pig in a poke y’all have been sold is the worth of an educarion in academia. Your Pretensident, himself a pompous academic with supporters and concepts disconnected from any “how things WORK” insight, theorizes endlessly on Grandma Madelyn’s real world accrued wealth. While that “typical white woman” was cranking out deals with the eskrow funds, climbing the laddar in the Bank of Hawaii with expertise acquired in the Heartland selling Caddies, furniture and commie bullshit, she was sockin’ it away so the Grandson wouldn’t have to work…providing that both sop spouse and “victim of racism” prep-school attendee could pontificate as he does. Thanks, Toot. Maybe the girlz could start thinking “business” as in “for herself” instead of getting a JOB! Here’s the vista, the fork in the road, the CHANGE: Mindset. Be the Boss, since being the good, team player proves again and again that you’re not on the TEAM at all. Make it as a “Works Well Alone” skeptic that most of the people around you will put more energy into accumulating debt in persuit of a degree that merely draws a veil of academic shoulda, coulda, woulda over the EYES which – like everything else in women – work quite fine when you get paid because others depend on you for everything.

  16. Just clicked on the “Like” button and thought … kind of strange to “like” something this disheartening. But what I like is your spirit, littleisis and your writing skills. You go Girl!

    On a somewhat related note, this great comment at Corrente: Dear Mr. President.

    I’ve been hearing you call for shared sacrifice […] And you repeatedly liken the government’s budget problems to those of American families, talking about how Americans have been having conversations at their kitchen tables of how to balance their personal budgets […] Even before you became president, did you and Michelle need to sit at the kitchen table to discuss how your income has stagnated and prices of everything have gone up, so it’s time to cut something out of the budget?

    [To admin/kb: It seems that Cinie’s World has now been taken down for good. Miss her voice but hope she’s ok – and writing a book!]

  17. As mentioned above, we are headed toward a two class society. But they won’t kill us off because they will need us when manufacturing starts up here again. That happens when the fuel costs of a container ship from China makes the goods too expensive to compete with stuff from Canada or Mexico.

    (Rather than fuel costs, I’m hoping for another political upheaval and the Chi-coms nationalizing all those foreign companies that set up shop.)

  18. great post Lil Isis..and a belated Happy St. Valentines day everyone!!!! :mrgreen:

  19. and we all go further down the rabbit hole. Who’s even paying attention anymore?

  20. Lil Isis — Excellent post!!!

    Sad to say, I was in the same sad state you are in during the 90’s. Unfortunately though for me going to law school didn’t prove to be as profitable as I had hoped due to the tightening job market. A Now I owe thousands in debt and got a university job that doesn’t have much pay (and yes, its subject now to a huge decrease after years of no increases). And I can barely keep up on my loan payments. Who owns a house? Wasn’t able to afford one due to the over $100 k in debt. And the enticement to work in the public setting where if I make my loan payments on time for 10 years to get the rest of my debt written off. Failed that benchmark, so the debt files. Would have filed for bankruptcy but due to the Bankruptcy Reform Acts no longer able to write off school loan debt. Let’s thank Biden for that!

    Best bet is to go into politics. Now there is where the money is at.

    • I don’t mean to laugh, but your last sentence. Ouch. But laughs at that sentence. I’m sorry for you. I was able (because I worked for a paper) to pay cash for my MA. But, one of my friends is just like you in terms of the debt. She became a teacher. $100,000 in the hole and faces what they are going to be doing in terms of yearly pink slips.

      Some system.

      It really is.

  21. You guys don’t want to hear this but it needs said.
    Many of you voted Third Party or republican instead of Obama but then voted for down ticket Dems. If you were like me you supported Dem candidates for 2010. No more.

    Today’s Democratic Party is like a weed in your garden and the only way to get rid of a weed is to kill the roots.

    Don’t vote for any Dems including dog catcher. I feel it’s the only way they are going to get the message.

  22. There is no original thinking in the whole realm of education. It is clear to the thickest head today that the age of grand marble and granite classrooms staffed by professors and supported by grad assistants is not just expensive but fairly ineffective. Ditto the story in high schools across the country. Technology break through has barely touched the delivery of education. Until we get down to the basic question—how do we learn and how can we facilitate learning in a global, digital world w/o the trappings of 20th century thinking—we are going to be stuck in expensive, unworkable, failing education.

    • So true. Schools are not there to educate kids, they are there because child labor laws were passed some amount of years ago and they needed a place to put the little bastards while the parents were working for them so that they could be indoctrinated with conformism, individualism and materialism while at the same time learning absolutely nothing worthwhile, only how to eventually grow up and pay a gazillion dollars to get more “education” so that they can work for same said people in power and make them more money. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as many times as it needs to be said: the shit is f*cked. up.

  23. Re: your college president’s approach to this problem—the task force of “interested” stakeholders, producing ideas about how to remold the present instead of breaking the mold.

  24. Just posting this because I wasn’t paying attention, but something big is happening in Wisconsin

  25. All of what you report, littleisis, is heart-breakingly true. In my neck of the woods, the state officially announced to its state-run higher ed institutions the other year its intention to run them “on the business model,” which was doubly chilling considering the state has managed to run itself into the ground and is wailing about having no money. The funding for state higher ed for decades was based on headcount and FTE (full-time student equivalency). This was fairly equitable, as institutions which had to serve a lot of students got more funding than those who only had a few hundred students to accommodate. Now, under the “business model,” the institutions will get funding for “producing” student graduations. Where it gets really crooked is that bogus certificate programs can be whipped up to count as mini-graduations to get funding, so now the institutions have started throwing together certificate programs that will yield students NO benefit and faculty advisors will be pressuring students during advisement sessions to obtain these certificates. Just think of how far in life a student with a Gen Ed Core Certificate will go! I feel so sorry for students who will be burning through their financial ed and then taking out loans to get these useless pieces of paper.

  26. Hey Little isis, I hear you. Fab piece. It took me back to those $400 Pell Grants times in the 80’s. My family gave me no help at all — they could have, but they didn’t. You are so right about the social probs that will occur as well in the (feminist) part of the piece about strain in the marriage, the secretary et al. Yep.

    Great piece. I’ll say one thing about going into Social Work? You will see it all. I was made into a Social Worker by all the free agencies I gave my hours to as an intern therapist. The social problems in the country are far too vast and the vignette you gave above is an example of that. No end in sight.

    Also those periodic news stories we see about people going off? There will be more of that as well.
    Tragic times, for all.

    O, like many in my gen got many benefits from a system that began to exclude a giant portion of the American demographic. There were no free rides for that group. My first vote in college was Dem not Reagan. My state doesn’t like Reagan — because we saw what he did.

    As far as that tear down the wall goes — well? We have seen what industries did after that.

    I’d pick a different major, littleisis. If you can.


  27. ps RD loved the new hair! xxoo!

  28. great article!!! when i read about this pell grant thing, it really pissed me off and no one from the left was saying anything about it killing the middle class because since it is coming from ob it must make sense.

    i too couldn’t start college right away because i couldn’t afford it and eventhough i had moved out, i couldn’t not be a dependent so my parents were making too much money for me to get those grants and loans, but they were never going to pay for my college. so i started at community college because it was cheaper and waited until i lived on my own long enough to be able to not have to use their tax returns to finish college at a four year school.

    now since i was a late student, and had lived on my own before going to college, i was not a person who had an option to go home for summer, and i wanted to finish that degree as quickly as i could. and in my program, we had to do our internships during summer… so this not giving pell grants during the summer because supposedly all students could go home and aren’t graduating faster thing is really really really really generalized and stupid thinking. not everyone has a perfect home life especially after 18, a lot of us move out and live on our own. not everyone is someone’s kid living at home until they are 26. infact, most people in america probably don’t live at home until that age, that is so ridiculous, although the government seems to be making it so that kids have to live with their parents this long because of the benefits from the health bill etc…

    anyhoo, basically, your story is my story, and so that makes me think that more than less of the folks in the college years have the same story. and that the ob administration is sillily dreaming up their perfect college student scenario of kids getting their college paid for by their parents. it just isn’t true in most cases. most of us want our independence by 18, and we should be allowed it.

    basically how are we supposed to become the best in education in the world if people just can’t afford to go to college anymore or even being able to go becomes so limited to only those who can afford it right now. before we could become number one in education by the sheer number of kids who go to college… but now if we don’t even have the numbers because of these limitations they are imposing, then we can’t compete… ob is killing our middle class and our world class education and no one on the left is blinking an eye or seeing the consequences of this in the future at all. the silence is saddening.

    • That whole no Pell Grants in the summer thing really sent me on a rampage too. I’m glad at least some other people are seeing this for the bull shit it really is.

  29. seriously, if gw or a repub had come up with this genius plan, the left would be screaming!!! and they would be saying that this is a set up so more kids have to go to the military to be able to afford college. but no, since it is ob, they don’t give a damn. i hate this hypocrisy.

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