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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Student Loan Bubble Caused by Government Intervention in Higher Education

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 31, 2013

Infowars.com posted detailed information concerning the student loan bubble that is about to pop.  The information includes:

  • There are 37 million Americans with outstanding student loans.
  • Of the outstanding student loans, the US Department of Education reports that 11% are at least 90 days delinquent.  This record high is double what it was 10 years ago.
  • Total student loans exceed $1 trillion, the second greatest consumer debt after mortgages.
  • In the past 10 years the amount of student loan debt has risen an incredible 275%.

student debtDebt that does result in future productivity gains becomes a long-term drain on the economy.  One reason is that highly indebted individuals cannot consume products or services.  While the education industry claims that a college degree is necessary to better one’s future earning power, the facts tell a different story.  For example, half of all college graduates work in jobs that do not require a college degree.

One statistic is very telling relating to the growing student debt.  In the past 35 years the cost of college tuition has risen faster than even the skyrocketing cost of medical care.  The reason is simple; governmental intervention.  The government, through grants and subsidized loans, has made easy for the educational industry to raise prices.  Had the government not subsidies the educational industry they would have been forced to supply services at lower prices for them to be affordable.

The negative impact on over indebted individuals and the drain the debt will place on the economy for years are just two issues America will face from inept governmental policies.  In addition, much of this debt has been taken on by the federal government adding to the taxpayers’ liability.

The federal government has completely mismanaged higher education and its industry.  Remarkably, the American people, through the election of this President, have turned over an even larger part of the economy, healthcare, to the same inept government.  Those that expect different results are out of touch with reality.

Posted in Education, Government Ineptness | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

MSNBC’s Harris-Perry Claims Children do not Belong to Parents

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 10, 2013

The Left is fully coming out of the closet.  There radical belief in collectivism, which is the hallmark of the Progressive movement, was once hidden in camouflage.  The bad news is they recently feel emboldened enough to take their view public.  The good news about this bravado is that they can no longer obtain their way politically through trickery.  This places the decision in the hands of the electorate to determine if the Left’s radical agenda is the direction middle America wants to travel.

There is no better representation of the Left’s belief in collectivism than an MSNBC promotional video put out with anchor Melissa Harris-Perry who remarkably says in the video posted below that the country must get over the old-fashioned view “… that kids belong to their parents …”:

“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children.  Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility.  We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children.  So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

It would be tragic enough if the views expressed by Harris-Perry were done so because of stupidity and lack of logic.  However, there are insidious goals behind the philosophy of moving child-rearing responsibilities to the state.  First, it allows the state and those that run it to brainwash children into belief systems that are not only different from the parents, but also help perpetuate the power of the political elite.  In addition, removing parental responsibility from child-rearing fits the narrative promoted by Progressives that marriage and committed relationships are not important in child-rearing.

The road proposed by Melissa Harris-Perry to fundamentally change America is in keeping with that promised by Barack Obama six days before being elected to his first term as president.  For those Americans who like the direction that in America is heading get ready to give up your parental and other rights to the state.  For those that disagree with the direction being traveled, the Country is at a tipping point.  Only with a game changing politician of the stature of Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher and a concerted effort by middle-of-the-road Americans can individual rights once again become a part of the American culture.

Posted in Education, Progressives | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Principal Cancels Honors Night to Avoid Offending Average Students

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 21, 2013

In another sign of misguided Progressive logic, a Massachusetts principal canceled the school’s traditional Honors Night so as to not offend average or nonperforming students.  According to the Dailymail.co.uk, David Fabrizio, first year principal of Ipswich Middle School in Massachusetts, canceled its traditional Honors Night that had given special recognition to its top students.  In canceling the event, Fabrizio indicated that its continuation would be “devastating” for those students whose grades were not up to the required standards.  In an email he further said: “The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients’ families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade-point average.”

Some in the community were outraged by the action forcing further explanation from Principal Fabrizio who said:  “We changed our Honors Night from an exclusive ceremony at night to an all-inclusive ceremony during the day in the presence of the entire student body.  During this ceremony we will honor those who have excelled in academics, in athletics, in the arts and in the related arts. Any reports to the contrary are incorrect.’

Let’s see, first Fabrizio indicates he is canceling the program so as to not offend those students who were not good enough to make the grade.  Then, adding insult to injury, he compares the accomplishments of honor students to those who have excelled in athletics and other extracurricular activities.  It is Progressive gibberish such as this that has helped lead to the degradation of America’s educational institutions.

The dumbing down of Americans and sapping the individual of competitive spirit goes a long way towards explaining many of the problems facing our society.  Throwing money at education cannot overcome the handicap given our young citizens by removing reality from their growing experience.

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Too Many Teachers

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 14, 2012

Wall Street Journal on July 10 published an op-ed America Has Too Many Teachers by Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute that concludes America has an excess of teachers.  In support of this conclusion Coulson points out that in the past 40 years the public school workforce has increased by 100%, from 3.3 million to 6.4 million.  During that same period student enrollment has only increased by 8.5%.  Coulson concludes this wastes about $200 billion annually.

Coulson also concludes that the increased spending has not resulted in improved education and quotes statistics from the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress reports.  He also debunks the argument that special ed programs have caused the workforce growth since these educators only make up about 5% of the workforce.

Organizations of all types have the natural inclination to self-perpetuate and grow.  Private companies that become bloated or grow beyond their means go out of business.  Such is not the case in the public sector where governments either have taxing authority and/or the ability to print money.  This reality removes any incentive of government organizations to create efficiencies.

Progressives, like President Obama, suggest that hiring more government workers including teachers is the solution to the lengthy economic downturn.  This claim is not only unsupported by economic data, but has proven to create inefficiencies and rob a country of its wealth.  If hiring government workers were the solution, Greece would be the wealthiest country in the world.  Instead, it is bankrupt.

Posted in Education, Government Waste | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Massachusetts Commencement Speech Offers Graduates a Reality Check

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 13, 2012

Over 35,000 high schools in the United States hold commencement ceremonies this time of year.  Most come with a motivational
speech offered by a local or national dignitary.  The Boston Herald reported on a speech that offers a breath of fresh air amongst the smog of politically correct dribble.

At Wellesley High School in Massachusetts one teacher, David McCullough, Jr., told the students that: “The sweetest joys in life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.  Because everyone is.  …. You are not special.  You are not exceptional.  Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you …   nothing special.”

McCullough went on to further inform the students that contrary to Progressive gibberish, “If everyone is special than no one is.”  He added that our society unfortunately “loves accolades more than achievement” and that we have “cheapened worthy endeavors“.  The YouTube posted video below of McCullough’s presentation has gone viral.  If but one graduating student in the United States acts on this profound message, McCullough may indeed have changed the world.

Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

North Carolina Teacher Goes Berserk in Class Supporting Obama

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 21, 2012

A North Carolina teacher last week was recorded acting irrational in her support for President Obama.  In the clip posted below on YouTube, social studies teacher Ms. Toyna Dixon-Neely spends 10 irrational minutes attempting to protect the honor of Obama, even claiming the student could be arrested for his unflattering comments about the President.  She has since been suspended for her inappropriate behavior.

During the exchange, the student correctly suggested to the teacher that if Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s youthful endeavors could were legitimate questions, so too were similar questions relating to Barack Obama.  This resulted in the following exchange:

Ms. Dixon-Neely – “Stop! Stop!  Because there’s no comparison.  He’s running for president. Obama is the president.”

Student –  “Whenever Bush was president, everybody talked sh-t about him.”

Ms. Dixon-Neely –  “Because he was sh-tty.

Quite frankly, Ms. Dixon-Neely fawning over President Obama is not the most serious issue raised in the YouTube posting.  Of greater significance is Ms. Dixon-Neely irrational behavior, lack of control of the class, and questionable speaking skills.  It is of little wonder that American students are faring so poorly in standardized tests.

Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Student Debt Soars

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 26, 2012

1Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released the figures for overall student debt in the United States.  The numbers are of concern for the economy.  The total student debt now exceeds $1 trillion, 16% higher than estimated by the Federal Reserve just one year ago.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the huge student debt will be a drag on the economy for some time as it will cause potential buyers to delay housing purchases and therefore recovery in the important housing market.  The Journal also reports that this debt has soared because of more people going to college to escape the weak economic environment, as well as increased tuition costs.

The student debt is one of many over leveraged aspects of American society.  Ironically, some portion of this debt growth can be attributed to government’s intervention into the education market.  Through various loan and subsidy programs, the government has made it easier for many Americans to attend universities.  At the same time, this assistance allowed colleges and universities to increase tuition much quicker than inflation.  The unintended consequence of these student aid programs is not only increased tuition, but another debt bubble.  This is another example of why the government needs to stop the senseless market interventions.

Posted in Education, Governmental Intervention | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Columbia University Offering Credit Course on ‘Occupy Wall Street’

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 2, 2012

Here’s one of those incredible stories that you just can’t make up.  The AP has reported that Columbia University is offering a course for upperclassmen next semester titled “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement”.  Yes, this is a course designed to study the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The ridiculous course is been offered by Columbia’s Anthropology department and is being taught by Leftist professor, Dr. Hannah Appel.  This is yet another example as to how Leftist elitist educators are ruining America’s educational institutions.  With the exception of Progressives in government, few employers will choose a job candidate based on their studying the Occupy movement.

As reader Jim Mahoney said when submitting this incredible story: “It just keeps getting better.”  To that this blog and “yikes”!

Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Barack Obama’s Education Folly

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 10, 2011

During his run for the presidency, Barack Obama seemed to have all the answers.  He entered office with a mandate and with his party controlling both houses of Congress.  In a rather manic fashion, he pushed through significant legislation including the $800 billion Stimulus Package.  With great conviction, Obama promised that this Package would significantly increase economic activity and keep unemployment from exceeding 8%.  He also promised that significant Stimulus funds would go to “shovel ready” projects, but later admitted that they were not ready.  History shows his economic policies to have failed.

Three years into his presidency, Obama is attempting to change the narrative since he cannot run on his economic record.  Earlier this week, the President made one of his campaign style speeches in Osawatomie, Kansas.  It included Obama’s typical class warfare rhetoric and a call for raising taxes on wealthier Americans.  While higher taxes is not only likely, but also necessary to pay down the debt, Obama has no intention of using the revenue for deficit reduction.  Instead, he would do what politicians always do with increased taxes; spend more and increase the government’s control over its crony capitalism.

Earlier this week, former Congressman Dick Amery published an op-ed (posted below) that reviewed another flawed policy that Obama promoted in Osawatomie.  Obama indicated the desire to use some of the new revenue for “investing” in higher education stating: “We shouldn’t be expecting less of our schools – we should be demanding more.  We shouldn’t be making it harder to afford college – we should be a country where everyone has a chance to go and doesn’t rack up $100,000 of debt just because they went.”

Typical of progressives, Obama promotes spending more on higher education when in fact it was previous government interventions (spending) that damaged the system.  The cost of a higher education has been one of the fastest-growing expenses in the United States over recent decades.  The major cause for this increase has been the government’s support for student loan programs.  Schools were able to charge so much more because students were willing to pay for it.  Had government not made the student loans so accessible were inexpensive, the market would have forced colleges and universities to temper cost increases.  In addition, moving the cost of higher education from the family to government supported loans lowered the pressure on students to be concerned with loan payback.  As a result, many college graduates do not have the skills that the employers need.

Obama overemphasizes the importance of higher education and a successful economy.  The middle-class of previous decades was mainly created by high-paying manufacturing jobs.  As the bubble years developed, the manufacturing jobs was replaced by bankers, paper pushers of all types and government workers.  With the popping of the bubble, the market is taking corrective actions and eliminating inefficient or unnecessary jobs.  Increased education will not change this reality.

As Amery says in his op-ed; Many of our current devices today were created by men and women with little academic background.  Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, dropped out of Harvard University to start his own software company.  The company successfully became one of the leading software providers and Gates ranks consistently among the world’s wealthiest people.”  Another good example is the recently deceased Steve Jobs who also dropped that the college. Successful businesses are created by highly motivated and talented individuals.  This trait is not taught in colleges and is not created by government spending.

Good Education Is Important, But Not as Vital as a Job

Dick Armey. December 9, 2011

President Barack Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, Kan., called for higher taxes on the rich and an increase of investment – not for businesses – but in national education.

“It starts by making education a national mission – a national mission.  Government and businesses, parents and citizens.  In this economy, a higher education is the surest route to the middle class.  The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  And their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  Which means we shouldn’t be laying off good teachers right now – we should be hiring them.

“We shouldn’t be expecting less of our schools – we should be demanding more.  We shouldn’t be making it harder to afford college – we should be a country where everyone has a chance to go and doesn’t rack up $100,000 of debt just because they went.”

This should be a concern for young people who feel obligated to achieve a higher education, but are not finding jobs available.  President Obama’s solution for investing in a national education is not going to cut it – we need serious economic reform.

The fact of the matter is that youth unemployment is the highest in the nation of any major demographic – resting at 17.4 percent.  It is now expected for young people to achieve a higher education in order to have a chance of gaining a job.

Jobs are not being created.  The unemployment rate for the country is around 8.6 percent and the workforce is continuing to shrink.  A main reason why young people are struggling to find jobs is because older, unemployed people with more experience are willing to take lesser-paid jobs – the jobs usually taken by the youth.

Thanks to this poor job market, Time magazine reports that 85 percent of last year’s college graduates had to move back in with their parents.  Not only are they stuck at home, they’re stuck with no way to pay their massive student loans.

Younger people have been taken by the hand of big government and ushered into high education with government-provided loans at artificially low interest rates.  This type of fiscally unsound economic policy is exactly what led to the housing bubble.

Accumulated student debt is over $1 trillion dollars and the average debt held by each student is $26,300.  The future for young people is uncertain and rightfully so – to pay off these massive debts, young people need income.  With no jobs and student loans left unpaid, young people will be indebted to big government.

President Obama is convinced: Investing in national education will create a well-educated workforce that will magically solve America’s economic woes on its own.  This is faulty rhetoric and unprecedented logic – education does not create jobs singlehandedly.  Education is important, but entrepreneurship, innovation, and sound free-market policies give businesses more freedom and outlets to create jobs.

For example, the 1920s serve as a decade of excellence that Washington should reflect on.  Rather than investing solely in education, big government economic policies were replaced with market-friendly conditions that created jobs and lead to a booming economy.

I want to highlight a key fact about this decade – when free-market policies were implemented, America experienced an incredible inflection of patent grants.  Innovators were in abundance and the amount of new product markets skyrocketed.  New ideas flourished and jobs followed – the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 3.2 percent.

Our economy demands innovation, not just education.  So President Obama is wrong – education alone certainly is not what makes an economy flourish.  Freedom, innovation, and acting-upon ideas are what move the economy and cause it to grow.  This is not happening under the current policies.

Many of our current devices today were created by men and women with little academic background.  Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, dropped out of Harvard University to start his own software company.  The company successfully became one of the leading software providers and Gates ranks consistently among the world’s wealthiest people.

We face an economy where it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a successful innovator.  Young people are being whipped-up in a whirl of confusion and uncertainty – they want answers and they are looking for a leader to provide them.  President Obama’s rhetorical claims and failed economic policies are leading young people down an unsustainable road.

Education is a great thing, but right now the education being subsidized by the Obama administration is only leading to endless debt, not employment.

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Teachers, Tenure, NFL and Wall Street

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 31, 2011

Discussions relating to the challenges state and municipal governments face often include the cost of education.  While most Americans agree that the educational process needs repairs, proposed actions are debated.

Those on the Left often express the belief that the educational system can be improved by throwing more money at it.  For example, President Obama suggested including billions more for “public school modernization” in his latest jobs plan.  This is in the time-honored Progressive tradition that proffers that any societal ill can be cured by government spending.  If only it was so easy!

The main school of thought is that America’s education problems are more systemic that include a breakdown of family and a corrupt philosophy within unions that rewards teachers for years of service, rather than performance.  This Blog adheres to this view.

Hall of Fame quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, retired from the NFL (National Football League) in 1978 after 17 terrific years.  He has since been an entrepreneur and adviser on small business education.  Tarkenton published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal some weeks ago titled What if the NFL Played by Teachers’ Rules? that looks into the problems of public education.  To make a point, he interposes the method of compensation and promotion for teachers and NFL players saying: “Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality.  Each player’s salary is based on how long he’s been in the league.  It’s about tenure, not talent.  The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he’s an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. … “.  The result of such lunacy is easy to understand.  Under such a system the NFL would at best offer a mediocre product that few would be willing to purchase and the league would ultimately disappear.

For those like President Obama who claim that more money can address the problem of education, Tarkenton offers the following statistics in rebuttal:

  • Inflation-adjusted spending per student in the Unites States has tripled since 1970.
  • America spends more per student than any other Western country except Switzerland.
  • Spending on buildings and equipment for schools has doubled since 1989, even after being adjusted for inflation.

Tarkenton correctly concludes that one problem with America’s educational system is the method by which its employees are compensated.  Teachers are not rewarded on results or efforts, but merely for years on the job, have little incentive to excel.  Worse, poor teachers who have no fear of being terminated for performance continue to teach to the determent of students.

America’s corruptive compensation practices are not only found in public education and the problem is broader than the way unions demand compensation for members.  For example, there is rightfully much angst being expressed by the Occupy Wall Street movement relating to Wall Street’s compensation for some of the same executives that helped create the Country’s ongoing financial mess.

The federal government played a role in creating Wall Street’s outrageous compensation packages.  First, starting in the late 1990’s, it and the Federal Reserve bailed out Wall Street with historically low interest rates every time the economy slowed down.  This led to bubbles and a belief on Wall Street that there was little risk in their increasing risky behavior.  Had the government let the recessions occur, i.e. required market corrections, during this ten-year period, Wall Street banks would have had poor profit years that would not only have tempered compensation packages, but more importantly tempered their willingness to make what were outrageously risky investments.

The government’s response to the 2008 financial meltdown was even more outrageous, bailing out the very people who caused the crisis.  However, instead of making these capitalist pay the ultimate price for their gross failures, the destruction of their companies, the government bailed them out.  That allowed the same executives to retain their jobs with outrageous compensation packages at the expense of the American taxpayer.  This grotesque crony capitalism started under the Bush Administration and continues under Obama.

Examples of compensation inequities in America are many.  These inequities have intensified in recent years not because of greed or capitalism, but because of peoples’ ability to act on that greed.  This increasing ability to act on greed has been enhanced by unnatural market manipulations that range from union demands for government workers, to governmental bailouts of huge banks and companies.  Unless these unnatural market manipulations are addressed (stopped) the problem of the inequities will continue.  Unfortunately those that govern will instead likely create still more interventions to repair their earlier interventions, which will only exasperate the problems.  This madness will continue until a transformational leader emerges with the guts to break the ties between power groups and those that govern.

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