Education is key to a less violent, more healthy and prosperous America
Without more and better educated people we have:
How farmers can get more folks up to date on agriculture
Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, warns that if rural America, or farmers, don't become more like other Moocher Nation Democrats, they'll lose even more influence in Washington, according to the left-leaning Associated Press story pubished on Politico.com. My comment on the story:
As the owner of a farm, I know that farmers are a big part of the Moocher Nation. We get our crop subsidies, government money to improve our land and nice tax credits for all kinds of things like having kids and getting home mortgages.
At the same time, the mostly Red States that gave the GOP control of the House are more rural than most Blue states. So farm states still have some clout.
The problem is that folks like Sen. Grassley (R-IA), a corn and beans farmer, defends and advocates Moocher Nation ag subsidies like ethanol, which are a huge indirect tax on urban American and rural America alike. Ethanol and wind power scams and ag subsidy programs, which is a lot of members of Congress are responding to voters demands that ethanol and wind power programs be cut from the Federal budget.
Now, the federal money and ethanol money is nice to have and hard to give up.
That farmers work for every penny is described in a wonderful book, Farm, a year in the life of an American farmer, by Richard Rhodes.
Agribusinesses should distribute Rhodes' book to every high school and college English teacher in the country and offer free copies to teachers who want to assign it to their students. And farmers should make sure that English and lit teachers in their high schools and community colleges assign the book to every student.
At the same time, the book should be distributed in lots of 10 to every Congressional office and all of the employees of the USDA, EPA and Commerce Dept. Those folks are readers. Give them a good read.
Econ books have used the grain markets to demonstrate the principles of supply and demand. The agribusiness world should encourage this and promote more ag econ teaching in community colleges and colleges.
Too see how high tech and complicated farming is, check out Iowa State University's curriculum for its ag majors.
Meanwhile, the Sec. of Agriculture is just unhappy that his wife lost her run for Congress in Iowa and that farmers put aside their personal financial interests and voted for their country and Romney, not for Divider-in-Chief Obama.
Maybe the farm bill would have a better chance if it didn't include so much spending on food stamps, which help too many of the near poor as the truly poor buy more junk food and bankrupt the country.
Agriculture • Farming • Books • Education • Marketing and Sales • Promotions • Permalink
Jennifer Rubin likes my 8 ideas for stimulating the economy and hiring
Every Friday, Jennifer Rubin, the Right Turn blogger on the Washington Post web site, asks her readers a question. On Sundays, she picks one or two answers posted by commenters on her blog and comments on the thread that she started.
This week's question: "What does [Rick] Perry need to do to maintain his momentum and begin to minimize doubts about his electability?"
This morning she picked two answers. My post about my eight ideas for stimulating consumer spending and hiring was one of the two answers she picked out of a bunch of good comments that followed her question. That thread is here. My slightly edited and expanded version of my comment, which I posted on this blog, is here.
Rubin summarized the answers this way:
I was struck by two important assumptions running through the answers. First, unlike many in the right blogosphere, the readers did not dismiss criticisms of Perry out of hand or characterize them as creations of the liberal media. They want to put Perry through the paces, and they understand there are real concerns about his candidacy. Second, it is apparent that readers are sick of platitudes and one-liners; they want detailed proposals and an explanation as to how the candidate’s background equips him to deal with our current national challenges. If Right Turn readers are representative of the Republican primary electorate, the party is in very good hands. The primary process is a time for not only choosing, but probing and testing.
'12 President • Economy • Education • Financial Reform • Health insurance • Health Insurance Reform • Taxes • Permalink
What I would like to hear from Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney
What I want GOP candidates to promise:
'12 President • Education • Health Care Providers • Health insurance • Health Insurance Reform • Medicaid • Medicare • Small Business • Taxes • Read More
6 ways Tom Tancredo beats John Hickenlooper on the issues
Tom Tancredo is going to give Obama Democrat John Hickenlooper a strong run and may even beat the Denver mayor on the issues. In Friday’s debate on Channel 12, which can be viewed on Denver’s CBS4, Tancredo attacked Hickenlooper on education, taxes, spending, running a sanctuary city, bilingual ballots, and PERA. Hickenlooper did himself no favors with his endorsements of ObamaCare, printing ballots in Spanish as well as in English and in his denials that he runs a sanctuary city and would make Colorado a sanctuary state. And Hick’s double talk about why he won’t disclose his 20-year-record of giving to ACORN and other hard left groups just won’t wash with Republicans or independents. You can summarize the debate this way:
Colorado • Budget • Legislation • Politics • Education • Employee Benefits • Health insurance • Health Insurance Reform • Read More
Colorado’s kids lose ‘Race to the Top’ money to Obama’s politically favored states
President Obama’s home state of Hawaii and nine politically important states east of the Mississippi mysteriously beat out Colorado’s kids in a rigged competition for “Race to the top” money. So Colorado kids and taxpayers are funding increased education spending that neither they nor Colorado nor the country can afford to pour down another patronage dark hole. In an excellent editorial,
Colorado • Budget • Politics • Education • Read More
Scott McInnis, Dan Maes do themselves no good in Denver Post interviews
How maddening. Both Scott McInnis and Dan Maes have blown opportunities to sell themselves in today’s Denver Post. When you’re interviewed by the editorial board of a newspaper, show some respect by doing your home work, preparing for predictable questions and taking clear stands on tough issues. Be articulate.
Both interviews were way too short to give the candidates time and space to discuss the issues in depth. That’s the difference between a space-limited printed newspaper and a blog, where space is unlimited.
A conversation with Scott McInnis. Denver Post editorial board transcript.
A conversation with Dan Maes. Denver Post editorial board transcript.
McInnis’ record shows slow steps to the right. By Karen E. Crummy.
Gubernatorial candidate McInnis’ voting record inconsistent on abortion. By Karen E. Crummy.
Colorado • Budget • Energy • Interviews, Audience Questions, Answers • Legislation • Politics • PPC • Economy • Education • Permalink
Should your kid attend a 2-year community college, a 3-year college or a 4+-year university?
With the rapid inflation in college tuition and the still deepening recession, kids and parents are looking for ways to reduce tuition costs. Kids are looking at attending lower-cost two-year community colleges before they move on to four-year colleges for their junior and senior years. And kids, parents and politicians are talking about making it easier for students to complete college in three years instead of four or five by reducing the number of credits required to graduate.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve been chatting on Facebook.com with a few friends who are educators. They strengthened my speculation that a lot more kids would save money by spending their first two years in community colleges instead of on the campuses of expensive four year colleges. As noted below, close to half of U.S. undergrads are in two-year community colleges, but most of these enrollees are no longer kids (average age is 29). Remember, however, that I’m not writing a dissertation on this, just a blog post.
Then, this morning’s Washington Post published a short article about the drive to cut college to three years from four years. The comments by educators and students as well as parents that follow the article are more interesting than the article itself.
I posted two comments:
Insidehighered.com has a recent story about a new report, What does a degree cost? on the cost of a degree under three approaches to cost accounting. After reading that, I started wondering how many kids will cut tuition costs by spending their first two years of college in a community college. In talking with a couple of CC instructors who have Ph.D.s (some 18% of them do), I found that one believes CC grads do as well [in their junior and senior years] in 4-yr. schools as kids who do all 4 years in those schools. Expect the market to move faster than educators and politicians. CCs will grow while overbuilt universities and colleges will shrink. Wondering what others think about this.
After reading about 28 earlier comments by others, I wrote:
The experience of 4-year colleges is great for kids who don’t drink, are great networkers, are mature when they start and need to work while in school. A 4-year college also is fun for kids who spend a lot of time on “activities” such as student government and on clubs. But 4-years on a major university campus can be a drag for kids whose personalities make living in dorms miserable and for kids whose parents are going in debt to help pay their tuition and room and board. Yes, it’s fun to cheer the FB and BB teams, but you can do that without a degree. And being the loyal alum of a Harvard or Notre Dame can be very expensive. Generalizing about the number of years or credits needed to get degrees makes no sense. Smart, focused kids need less time and fewer credits than the clueless kids who are finding themselves. Kids headed for grad school probably need more credits than those who aren’t. The problem is that faculty make work for themselves at the expense of students and society, and they’re very good at selling their incredibly expensive approaches to education. For-profit schools are run by profit-motivated adults rather than by self-serving faculty. Sometimes the profit motive is better than the careerism that rules most of higher education. This won’t be popular with my relatives and friends in higher ed, but it needs to be repeated.
These aren’t original thoughts, but I think they should be on the table. And, yes, I know there are thousands of profs in four-year colleges who love to teach, are good teachers and spend a lot of time helping students accomplish their goals. A niece just graduated from Colorado’s Western State. She says most of her profs were great, but like elsewhere, there are a few pills there, too.
Most important, the market is helping solve the problem. Many kids already attend two-year community colleges and do very well when they move on to four-year colleges for their final two years. After all, they’ve had time to grow up, prove their academic skills and decide that a B.S. or B.A. and higher are for them. And some smart, focused kids are earning four to five years worth of credits in one to three years.
All of this proves that financial incentives do wondrous things, even in education. It will interesting to see whether educators will increasingly try to help kids save money or whether they will continue to act mostly in their self interests while complaining about the profit motives in education and health care.
Links: What does a degree cost? Insidehighered.com. Full disclosure: Nate Johnson is my nephew and, like many families, ours has several people in education and has a long history of enjoying the benefits of good educations.
I searched the web for “community colleges faculty” and the first interesting piece I found was Community College Faculty: Must Love to Teach: ScienceMag.org. I’m told this is a Pollyanish view of teaching in CCs because it doesn’t report on the low pay for teachers in CCs. And many teachers are part time. That’s what makes them affordable, of course. And as long as people are willing teach under those conditions, CCs will continue to be affordable, I guess.
American Assn. of Community Colleges: Faculty Degree Attainment. About 13% of full time and 3% of part timefaculty have Ph.D.s. In 2005, “close to half,” or about 6.5 million of the undergrads in the U.S. were in community colleges. Will that become close to 66% or 75% in 10 years?