Higher (Cost of) Education

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Martha Kanter, U.S. Under Secretary of Education in charge of post-secondary education, talks about the affordability of higher education and the role of community colleges in meeting the goal of having the U.S. have the most college graduates in the world by 2020.  


Martha Kanter

Comments [24]

Taher from Croton on Hudson~

Don't waste the keystrokes.

There no arguing with dense.

May. 16 2012 12:15 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Taher

Germany is a tribal nation, as is Japan. But the main thing is the dedication to SKILLS. Hands-on-skills. A powerful work ethic. Efficiency. Thrift. Promptness. As for rest of the social blah blah, and the unions, that's all nice, but the essence of German power is tribal nationhood skills, efficiency and thrift. Germany is for Germans; Japan is for Japanese. America is different. America is for everybody and so there is a greater emphasis on individualism, which is a good thing if not taken to the extreme. What we need in our educational system is more substance and discipline, more vocational curricula, efficiency and some common sense of social cohesiveness, i.e. civics. Mostly the opposite of what liberals have been inculcating over the last half century.

May. 16 2012 12:00 PM
Semper Fi from NY

Sorry to have missed Kanter. What she said has been said for decades. Results are needed, not talk, we have heard it all before, and the talk is no more than common sense, obvious, and already known. Also, there is plenty of "evidence" of what works to solve the problems of education (as well as poverty, violence, health care, international relations, etc.) that is proven by RESULTS, without any of the results being, or needing to be, "research-based". "Research-based" people make their fame, money, recognition, self-importance, etc., ad nauseam, on the need for "research", when many things don't need research before they are used (and effective). When you refuse to accept results, on things that don't need research before being put to use, you are threatened, CLEARLY not a leader, and not fit to be in a decision-making position regarding the solving of serious problems. Simple. Often, things work, and no one knows why, especially if it is due to intangibles, which the academic, scientific, "quantifiers" of the world abhor, and will do anything they can to prevent/denigrate the importance of intangibles. Apples fell off the trees, way before gravity was ever "discovered". Research has value, but should not stand in the way of "Results".

May. 16 2012 11:53 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

jgarbuz from Queens, dress codes, liberal, or reactionary this or that is not going to make a damn bit of difference.
The Germans have a consensus social welfare state, with strong unions and shlumpy cloths and yet their economy is booming. Why? Because all, including cooperate leaders, politicians, workers unions- agree that to have a skilled labor force you have to educate them according to their individual abilities.
It’s not cloths, it’s the German culture that says all are responsible for the well being of the nation. That’s what we don’t have. What we have is: “I have mine get out of my way.” And that is not about being a hippie.

May. 16 2012 11:47 AM
Vern from Harlem

I currently work as an IT manager. Since the birth of my two children I have been considering transitioning to a K-12 teacher. I love teaching and as an African American living in an urban community I see the need for good teachers. One of my biggest misgivings isn't the cost (in time, money, and the effort to but rather the curriculum. If I'm going to become a teacher I want to teach, not teach-to-the-test.

My wife and I combined have almost 30 years of higher education and zero student debt.

Because she's a German citizen, my wife's MFA was subsidized by the German government-- but she also worked and her family made contributions.

After graduating from high school, because my family couldn't afford a college fund, I joined the Army to take advantage of the GI Bill. (This was back in the late 80s before our nation's war addiction.) One of my jobs after leaving the Army was as a student loan service phone operator, so I learned vicariously from our clients harrowing tales.

Rather than go straight to a four year college, I enrolled in a community college to cost-effectively take liberal arts and mathematics core classes that would universally transfer. When I transfered to four year colleges (I attended three: Temple, Columbia, and CUNY), I used a combination of GI Bill, financial aid, grants and fellowships and employment waivers to defray tuition and avoid loans. By far the best way to avoid the high cost of a distinguished education is to get a full-time job at the institution and use tuition waivers.

All told I've spent about about 20 of the past 25 years enrolled in classes on some level or another.

My ultimate aim was never to get a degree; it was to learn, as much as possible.

My wife and I squirrel away contributions to our children's college fund, but we're under no illusions that when it's time for them to attend college their going to have to resort to the same methods we used. So we're teaching them to value learning (and not just a boilerplate education) and to always look for and seize "free" opportunities.

May. 16 2012 11:41 AM

What is Columbia University doing with their $8 BILLION endowment?

Besides buying-up huge, expensive tracts of prime Manhattan real estate.

May. 16 2012 11:38 AM
Hugh from Manhattan

I'm sorry, Martha, but you're simply a fool in denial. I go to CUNY because it is the only "affordable" option in New York City (NYU and Columbia offered me laughable financial aid packages), and I still have $10,000 in loans. And I'm on the very low end of the spectrum. Everyone I know is in debt, and everyone I know is tired of politicians and city officials doing bupkis. I watch my tuition rise every semester, and watch my paycheck remain stagnant. Working full time and trying to graduate in 4 years is giving me an ulcer, so you clearly have no concept of what it means to be a young person without a disposable income. Yes, the states need to contribute to public education, but the simple fact is that they're not doing nearly enough to make improvements. My school is burdened by broken elevators and a lack of printer paper. I take courses with 35 students in windowless classrooms. Education is grossly underfunded in this country, and a college degree in anything but business from a pricey Ivy League has become utterly useless. I am a serious and intelligent student, and I find it unacceptable that you and your administration have yet to demanded serious education reform. Get a clue, lady, and listen to the American students.

May. 16 2012 11:34 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Why college? Why should every one go to college?
We are simply assuming that everbody is the same and have the same skills or interests. The students pay high tuitions and learn what in college? What job?
America needs to look at the German model for education where early-middle school- students are watched for skills and abilities. They are then encouraged to seek a direction. Some go to college, others go trade schools.
All financially supported by the state and private companies to creat a varied and well paid work force.
What we have is a Ad hoc con job.

May. 16 2012 11:31 AM
rh from nyc

The "achievement gap" is not the problem that people have with teachers. The problem is that the worst teachers, the bottom few percent, the ones who treat children like dirt, cannot be gotten rid of. If those few very bad teachers were removed, the rest of the teachers would both have easier jobs (not having to undo the damage) and more respect, because the public would feel that those good and great teachers care about our children being exposed to monsters.

There is no real mechanism in place right now to get rid of the teacher who tells a kid "you won't get into college, don't apply" or "what are you stupid?", who lie, cheat, and protect themselves to the detriment of students and the whole school.

It is like why some people hate doctors - that one who didn't help them, or minimized their troubles. Or policeman, the corrupt one or the one who ignores real issues. At least if a doctor is very bad, you can go to another one. You can ask to deal with a higher up at the police station. But your child spends day in day out with their teachers, and there is NOTHING parents can do about those very bad teachers.

The answer is to get rid of tenure, enable removal of the worst teachers, and the education community will improve automatically.

May. 16 2012 11:26 AM

... it's the BEER!!!

It's the beer that those damn kids drink... that's why tuition is so high!!!

Geezus...stupidity really does rule supreme.

May. 16 2012 11:22 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The purpose of High School should be first and foremost to produce WORKERS who leave high school with some preparation to go straight to work! That means discipline and dress codes and restoring the way things were in K-12 schools in the 1950s before the hippies took over. It also means rote and memorization as well as kumbaya. We need a counterrevolution to take back education from the liberal "academics" who've wrecked what was once a good, comprehensive educational system.

May. 16 2012 11:22 AM

Why is Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia University paid $2 MILLION?

Why does he sit on the board of the NY Fed overseeing banking (student loans) policy??

Why doesn't he allow his regular "adjunct" professors access to healthcare???

Why is tuition so EXPENSIVE??

May. 16 2012 11:19 AM
Dave from Washington Heights

Why is there so much emphasis on standardized testing and "data" (note: so many of the metrics are questionable in terms of their ability to give true, valid data), when other countries that are leading the world in terms of educating their citizenry (Finland for one) do not seem to be taking this approach. And if we are trying to recapture the lead we once had, how come we are straying so far from the practices and standards that once were in place? (I don't recall taking 4 hour standardized tests every year when I was growing up. Neither can my father.)

How is this the best we can come up with? (or is it really about money, and companies like Pearson landing sweet heart deals?)

May. 16 2012 11:19 AM
john from office

Just heard another empowered used, good average, must be a administrator, I am waiting on the "People of color" usual usage.

May. 16 2012 11:18 AM
cousin itsy from NYC

Good luck to the guy at Columbia U. who wants to lead change. Does he want to do that within the DOE system, as an actual teacher?? Ha!

May. 16 2012 11:15 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Yes, teachers are good at producing more teachers :) But can they produce more programmers, engineers, scientists, when most of them barely have the technical proficiency to tie their own shoelaces? :)

May. 16 2012 11:14 AM
john from office

Ok, I heard two empowered or empowerment used so far.

May. 16 2012 11:14 AM

On the subject of student debt, these loans include living expense requested by students.
So students are loaned money for a night of drinks. Or 4 or 5 years of drinks as well as for tuition.
Students go to the financial aid office like an ATM until they reach their limit.

May. 16 2012 11:12 AM

Strange about needing 1 million teachers because I know freshly minted teachers in NYC area who can't find a job because ineffective incumbent teachers can't be laid off.

May. 16 2012 11:10 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The disintegration of our K-12 public school system began in the mid-1960s when liberals abolished "tracking," arguing that it discriminated against blacks and other racial minorities that were being shoved INTO non-academic and vocational programs, such as "shop," and began to spread the shibboleth that everyone must aspire to essentially become an academic. When I was still in high school in the early 1960s, such courses as technical drafting and automobile mechanics, typing and office work were all available. THere were four high school diplomas afforded: Academic, Vocational, Commercial, and General. The first track was college prep; the second was for those going to work after graduating with their hands; the third was mostly for secretaries and such planning to go work in offices. The latter for those who basically showed up and managed to scrape by. Then these "tracks" were abolished as allegedly being discriminatory against blacks and hispanics. Now, Community Colleges have to do the job high schools used to do back in the 1950s!

May. 16 2012 11:02 AM

Just because the goal is set to have students graduate from community colleges doesn't mean that the education good. As someone who has attended community college, I can say that when community colleges actually prepare students for either a 4 year college or for their adult lives then it should be recommended for students to attend. But in my experience community college was nothing more than a continuation of high school that did not prepare me one bit for rigors of a 4 year school or the decisions that need to be made in real life.

May. 16 2012 10:18 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The day Obama and the like, give a commencement speech at a community college, is the day I take their commitment to two year colleges seriously.

May. 15 2012 10:54 AM
America (USA) consistently ends up at the bottom when compared to other “developed nations”
Maybe if colleges didn’t have to teach remedial education it wouldn’t be so expensive to educate young adults

May. 15 2012 10:32 AM
BrendaTNYC from New York City

Community colleges can play a crucial role in lowering costs of a four-year degree. 1)Some students need the extra time a community college affords to find their higher education sea legs (and not spend private (or even public) 4 year school tuition to do so) 2)Colleges and universities will be forced to offer additional options when enrollment dips due to community college attendance (3 year degrees will become an option to lure students directly into the four year school from high school) 3)Two years at a community college + two years at an esteemed university (with a reciprocal agreement with the community college) delivers a prestigious degree for about half the price.
In other words: Three cheers for community colleges!

May. 15 2012 08:19 AM

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