Posts Tagged ‘College and Career Readiness’

Florida Legislature to Students: Want a Scholarship? Forget Liberal Arts and Go Only for a High ROI

April 8, 2021 Comments off

As the NBC report below indicates, the conservative legislature in Florida is considering the passage of a bill that would stop the issuance of State scholarships to students who are not majoring in subjects that will result in highly compensated jobs. The effect of this would be the de facto end of scholarships for liberal arts majors and anyone aspiring to a career in public service… which would include social workers, nurses, and (ahem) teachers— none of whom, especially in Florida, will ever earn as much as, say, real estate sales persons. If our country is only interested in money, this is what the future holds… and the Democrats were all in on an Return On Investment model during Obama’s years.

NH Legislature’s Preposterous Law Banning Instruction on Systemic Racism and Sexism Does the GOP Assume that NOT Teaching About it Will Make it Go Away?

March 2, 2021 Comments off

The headline of a recent NHPR report on a bill before the NH Legislature made me realize how preposterous it is to believe that NOT teaching a subject will somehow make it irrelevant or unknown to the general public. The headline read:

Lawmakers Debate Banning N.H. Schools From Teaching About Systemic Racism, Sexism

It dawned on me as I read that headline that I was NEVER taught about systemic racism and sexism during my time in public schools… but the fact that I wasn’t taught about them in the 1950s and early 1960s didn’t mean that it didn’t exist at that time and clearly didn’t mean I didn’t learn about it later in life. Indeed, the social studies lessons I was taught throughout my schooling would match the curriculum Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission sought. Here’s the problem, though: what I WITNESSED and what I read about AFTER I left school brought me to the conclusion that systemic racism and sexism DO in fact exist and, knowing that and finding it distasteful, I hoped to see laws passed and hearts changed so  that it would be put out of existence. So to my GOP friends in the NH Legislature… please do not think for a minute that banning the instruction of a subject will make it go away or make voters fail to learn about it.

Minimum Wage and Student Debt are Linked… Loans Would be Lower or Non-Existent if Workers Earned More

February 26, 2021 Comments off

A light bulb went on when I read this article on the minimum wage controversy by Kenny Stancil. In the article Mr. Sancil calls out GOP Senator John Thune for sharing an anecdote on his work as a teenager:

A story of the $6 wage he earned working in a restaurant as a kid blew up in the face of Sen. John Thune overnight after economic justice advocates pointed out that the powerful Republican’s personal anecdote only goes to show that, adjusted for inflation, that seemingly low wage would now be somewhere north of $24 an hour—helping solidify the case that increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 is the very least Congress should be doing.

“I started working by bussing tables at the Star Family Restaurant for $1/hour and slowly moved up to cook—the big leagues for a kid like me—to earn $6/hour,” Thune, who represents South Dakota and is the second-most powerful Republican in the Senate, tweeted Wednesday night. “Businesses in small towns survive on narrow margins. Mandating a $15 minimum wage would put many of them out of business.”

Several progressive critics quickly pointed out that, depending on the exact year when Thune, born in 1961, started earning $6 an hour, the seemingly modest wage he pulled in as a teenager would be equivalent to roughly $25 today.

This resonated with me, because I worked de facto minimum wage jobs throughout my youth: mowing lawns; delivering newspapers; and several bona-fide part-time minimum wage jobs as a painter, a mover; and a factory worker. I was not raised in poverty. Rather, my father encouraged me to work part-time so that I could pay for college and learn the work-ethic at a grass root level. I DID pay for my freshman year at Drexel University with my earnings and covered the costs for the balance of my college through the co-op jobs I worked. But there is no way I could do that with today’s prevailing wages for two reasons: the wages today are too low and the cost of college has gone up. This creates a gap that can only be filled by having a college student take out loans or working throughout their college careers— either of which compromise the experiencing college in the same way as a student whose tuition, room and board is fully funded.

If our country is serious about creating a world where equal opportunity is real we need to pay higher wages for entry-level and part-time work and pay higher taxes so that state colleges can be more affordable. We need to reinforce that part of our humanity that is willing to make sacrifices for others instead of feeding our selfishness.