It seems that things are about to heat up again in the Occupy-everything culture and, if all I am seeing is correct, a large contingent of the disgruntled participants (other than burnout hippies, union thugs and anarchists) will be made up of current or recent students. These kids, instead of appreciating the incredible gift they are afforded with this educational opportunity, have decided to take to the streets to demand education, any education, for free as if it were a right. Everywhere we turn, these spoiled brats pretend they know anything about the real world, how industry works, or the struggles and sacrifices our forefathers endured to provide the bounty we enjoy. Instead of learning, they drink the kool-aid of leftist professors, most of which prove the adage “Those that cannot do, teach.” I would have more respect for the Occupiers if they were smart enough to have a coherent, well-constructed message. Robbing from the rich and giving to the poor sounds great but, as recent interviews prove, the students are not willing to share their good grades with the failing students in class. If they support the misplaced idea of hard-working Americans having to share the fruits of their labors with the lazy, they should be required to do the same, right?
How did we allow such a failure, right under our noses? The education system is in shambles and it is because of government interference and money, not due to the need for more. Staggering statistics from 2010 show that, since the Department of Education began in 1980, the cost of higher education has risen over 400%, far faster than health care or any other segment of society. Why is this? For most of our history, unconstitutional and poorly supervised vast sums of money have been made available though the Federal government to schools. The schools simply take the money as a bonus by increasing their charges, knowing student loans will pay. FDR, Lyndon Johnson, Carter, Clinton and now obama have all vastly increased the slush fund for institutions of learning though, time after time, studies and common sense have shown that cash is not the answer. While the Democrats have been the worst offenders, especially with Carter’s egregious founding of the DoED (itself nothing more than his payoff to the teacher’s union for their first ever political endorsement), Republicans have been at great fault as well. Losing Reagan’s demand to abolish the needless department and return control to the States, both Bushes embraced government intrusion into education and it led to No Child Left Behind and the like.
The money from the government simply leads to schools absorbing the funds and eliminating the need to modernize, become more competitive, or defray costs to students. A perfect parallel to today’s plight was the 1944 creation of the GI Bill. The “well-meaning” government shoveled millions into a poorly regulated fund and, of course, most bastions of higher education began charging GIs more or simply inventing students and courses to steal the money. Now we have dozens of other avenues by which the Federal government dumps money into the laps of schools that are content to suck at the public teat. Student loans and Pell Grants (payments to most students from the government that do not have to be repaid) are just two examples and have doubled their payments just since obama took office. Times change but the problems do not. Clinton’s Education Secretary, Dick Riley, admitted that his Department was “worse than lax” and wasted billions annually. Do any of us think the problem has gotten any better since then?
Based on these facts, if there is anywhere students should be picketing and occupying, it is the administration offices of their schools for they are getting royally raped. Their schools are stealing tax dollars by increasing costs which they know the government will pay through loans. That leads to a large number of clueless college graduates with $100,000+ in loans to be repaid and hopes of, maybe, finding a job paying $30,000 a year if they are lucky. It is a crime what the universities and government are perpetrating upon these intentionally clueless kids.
How do we fix it? How do we raise smart, responsible students that appreciate their history and have the ability to compete on a global stage? There are extreme but common sense steps to take that would allow true educational reform in America, thus allowing our country to regain leadership in this field:
- Eliminate the Department of Education immediately and revert control of the schools to the State level. The DoED is not even about helping students but rather a way to ensure government protection of teachers unions. Our tax dollars are being shoveled to schools in record amounts, removing the need for competition. They are like lottery winners who go broke as they spend everything they can get instead of having reasons to save, streamline and modernize.
- Eliminate teachers’ unions at every opportunity. Unions in general are an antiquated idea these groups simply make it difficult or impossible to fire subpar teachers or incentivize good educators.
- Provide different tracks for students not interested in college. By expanding trade schools to high-school (or earlier) age children, students never intended for higher levels of education can learn a trade and be ready to enter the workforce upon graduation.
- Make people accountable for paying for their own education instead of providing a blank check in the form of federal student loan programs. Were sanity were allowed to flourish and students had to get their own loans, they would not attend if prices of colleges rose too high. Then, if students do not apply and attend, schools will have to compete for students and become stronger, more economical institutions.
- Eliminate any and all majors that are not self-sustaining. Degrees that will not result in actual gainful employment, thus providing a means to repay student loans, should be eliminated with a vengeance. If a student is not learning something at which they can make a living, it is a hobby and should be pursued on their own time. Start with any majors that end in “Studies”. Any of that dreck, like Women’s Studies for example, simply charge for four years of school and a useless degree. For all that they learn in those classes, they could simply buy a ticket to The Vagina Monologues and hear bitter women complain. The same goes for many of the other majors in the arts for example. A student should not go tens of thousands of dollars into debt for an art degree when jobs are not there to support such an investment. A university should have to reduce the cost of such an education to more rightly reflect the earning potential in that field. Additionally, if someone wants to be an artist, they should get a real job and create in their off hours. Having the desire to create music, art or literature does not mean the government, or more aptly put the taxpayers, should pay for one to do so. At least skip college and go straight to slinging coffee at Starbucks for that is the only hope most of these students have.
- We need to do everything we can to remove the belief that everyone should go to college. If we are being honest, many non-specialized jobs do not even use the information contained in an employee’s degree. Part of the American Dream has warped into an expectation of a college education whether it makes sense or not. Parents push their kids towards it due to some misplaced sense of shame were their kids not to attend. One should go to college if they have a specific, productive goal in mind that requires a school’s training. Otherwise, kids should get out and learn a trade or skill that will allow them to be productive members of society instead of going into debt for a useless piece of paper. Students attending college in hopes of finding a major, instead of those going to college to accomplish a worthwhile goal, are useless.
- All of our school systems should be year-round, first grade through post-college schooling. While teachers will balk because they intentionally picked a job that allows them summers off and parents will complain about vacation timing and the like, we are falling behind most other civilized countries because our students are coddled and subpar on a global scale. Teachers have to spend months re-teaching the topics students forgot during summer break. What we need to do is simply have occasional breaks of a week or two throughout the school year, long enough to recharge the batteries but not too long to forget the lessons. Of course it will cause trouble with childcare and the like but one should not have children if they are not prepared to sacrifice for the best interest of said offspring.
- Stop dumbing down the curriculum for students at all levels. Have you ever seen a school book from 100+ years ago? Our ancestors that attended school really learned something. Now we sugarcoat and enable failure. Make students work, not coast.
- Return true history to our schools, not a watered down version taught by “progressives” and leftists that have no understanding of American exceptionalism. Restore the teaching of Constitutional Law to US law schools instead of Case Law also. Students at every level should be able to gain a true understanding of our Nation and her history.
- Eliminate the Ritalin for all ages and professional note-takers for college students. Stop making excuses for your children’s failures and instead tell the kids to cut off the X-Box, sit down, shut their mouth, and study.
These are just a few common sense steps that would get us on the right track and we are running out of time. If we judge by the Occupy crowd, we are guilty of raising completely spoiled idiots. I used to think the phrase “I weep for our future” was a bit heavy-handed but, the older I get, I find it is an understatement.
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As the sixth-great grandson of American patriot and Revolutionary War hero Christopher Gadsden, I feel it is my duty to speak fondly of America’s greatness and stand ready to defend her against all adversaries. Sadly, I must rail against the vileness and evil of the leftists, progressives, Marxist, socialists and idiots in general now threatening to destroy our great nation. If you support this aim, please spread the word.