ANAHEIM, Calif., Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Tuition at public and private universities across the nation has been increasing steadily over recent years as marked by the November 16thapproval by the California State University Trustees of a 9% tuition increase for the 2012-2013 academic year – the ninth increase in nine years. The increase set off raucous student protests, however, the university system had little choice due to continuing cuts in state funding.
Private university students have also been hit by ongoing tuition hikes. At four-year private universities, total costs (including room and board) rose 4.3% to an average of $36,993 according to College Board’sTrends in College Pricing 2010 report. This is double the 2.1% annual inflation rate reported in February of 2011.
It is believed by many in higher education today that we are headed for the collapse of the student loan system as we know it. Many experts believe that the student loan bubble could be even more significant than the Subprime mortgage crisis that the country is still recovering from. The obvious solution is affordable education that students can pay for as they pursue their studies without going into debt.
California’s for-profit Anaheim University is endeavoring to be part of this solution. According to AnaheimUniversity Chief Communications Officer David Bracey, “The Anaheim University Board of Trustees has initiated an across the board tuition increase freeze and the University’s Administration is working with the Board of Trustees to implement a Tuition Relief Program that would reduce tuition by as much as 50% over the next 5 years. This is part of Anaheim’s mission to make world-class education accessible to students around the world.”
At a 2010 Technonomy conference Bill Gates suggested that technology could reduce the cost of a post-secondary school education down to $2,000. Bracey stated, “Through real-time webcam technology, the highly qualified faculty of Anaheim University can give more attention to students in small classes at a lower cost than a bricks and mortar institution that carries with it the burden of operating a large and costly campus with extremely high overhead. We fully agree with Bill Gates and his insight has motivated us to move in that direction,” said Bracey.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tells a constituent that it’s “none of your business” when she asks why he sends his kids to private school.
Gov. Chrisitie nails the voter in a 3 point argument:
Christie pays property taxes for a system he doesn’t even use
Gov. Christie and his wife pay $38,000 annually in property taxes but don’t use the services. He helps fund the system and therefor has a say in how they function – whether he uses them or not. This is the argument for school vouchers so that parents could choose whatever kind of school they want and use the money they pay into the system (or not) to fund it.
Christie and his wife want religion in their children’s education
Christie chose a private parochial school because they wanted their children to have their faith involved in their schooling.
Governor Christie is the Governor of the Whole State
Chris Christie has to make the right decisions for all children in the state, not just his own. What if he had no kids? Would that make him unqualified to make decisions on how best to fund the public school system?
The constituent was going for a gotcha moment and got gotcha’d by the governor. Perhaps a teacher herself, or at a minimum a liberal, she didn’t think her point all the way through. A governor (or any executive) makes decisions that impact the entirety of their office. Does he have to be a truck driver to sign legislation on trucking safety? Does he have to be a manufacturer to entice factories to come to his state? No. He also does not have to have children in public school in order to improve the decaying system. In fact, his exposure to private schools might bring new ideas to a 1960’s era system that is stuck in a mode of abject failure.
The American education system isn’t the envy of the world. It’s not even the prize of U.S. citizens who are becoming more disenchanted with the archaic system the longer it continues. It is a fine example of why the government is not the answer to what ills us.
This is an open thread that starts with some ideas on how it might be improved. The purpose of this thread is to connect the thoughts from as many contributors as I can into a single presentation. Comments to this article (or email submissions if that’s more comfortable) will be combined into a single presentation.
Americans are growing angry over many things the government is failing to do. One of those things is basic education.
The anger isn’t with the teachers – they work hard and teach what they’re asked to teach. Parents aren’t always to blame as they vary from over-bearing “helicopter parents” to nearly non-existent. But there is anger. Anger at the system itself. A system that graduates just 77% of it’s students from secondary education (high school), lower than most developed countries. Though graduates can read,write, do math, and recite some really basic history, they don’t have any real life or job skills after 13 years in the system.
Kids don’t just drop-out due to grades, sometimes it’s due to feeling like school isn’t teaching them anything useful. In many cases, they may be right.
There are numerous proposals to reform education by putting more money into higher-technology tools, paying for tutors, buying better books, etc. Throwing money at the problem has always been the politician’s and administrator’s answer and it has never worked.
A set of reforms based on American values and understanding the individual could be put in place that would help all students, not just the ones that want to be doctors, lawyers or MBAs:
Privatize more of the system and increase charter school caps (yes, government limits the number of charter schools). This system is suffering from a lack of competition. Everyone realizes that private schools tend to be better, but not everyone can afford them. Charter schools compete for students and are on par with private schooling. Perhaps all schools should compete for students (and therefor, education/tax dollars). If the parents don’t feel their kids are being educated effectively, they should be able to move them. Today’s draconian system of borders that dictate a child’s school by their address is a fundamental flaw. The school will have students no matter how mediocre it is and therefor has little reason to excel – mediocre is good enough.
Diversify the education ecosystem. Not everyone is going to be the next President, and most don’t even want to. High-schools should be more accommodating of students that want to work with their hands (industrial arts) and realize that not all students need or want so many courses to “round them out”. Trade craft should not be lower on the totem pole. The German system has a singular curriculum up until 5th grade at which point the students abilities, desires, and character will position them for one of three next level schools. Maybe the German’s figured out what we haven’t: not all people are the same and not all should be taught the same things. Even those that don’t make it to academic greatness have a chance at vocational greatness. Not everyone wants an A in English lit, but everyone wants to be good at something.
Teach real-life skills. Spend more time discussing how to put a savings plan together, why borrowing too much is bad, how credit really works, taking care of finances, crafting a budget, buying a house, setting up a computer, maintaining a car, etc. That way we don’t have to have the travesties of people losing their houses because they say they didn’t understand the contract or process.
Teach the kids how to learn, not just what to learn. The current model is focused on wrote memorization, probably to get the student ready for all the government tests the school needs them to pass
Change the message: College is not the only acceptable path to success. A brilliant electrician needs zero college to be successful and doesn’t need to feel subhuman because he doesn’t want to go or can’t afford to go. A piece of paper does not make someone successful. If the trade requires post-secondary education then so-be-it. Doctors, lawyers, engineers and the like need something past high-school. Colleges need to understand their purpose and refocus.
College needs an overhaul. The desire to balance the student has overtaken the need to ready the citizen. If they are studying to be an aerospace engineer, that class in music history, archery, or modern basketry is useless. They may wish to take it on their own, but making it mandatory is snobbery at it’s finest. Most college degrees don’t prepare the student for their actual career much better than two or three well-written text books could. Technical schools should be the focus, and perhaps public universities should refocus their schools around actual career needs.