Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hillary's ‘Free’ College Plan Comes with $350 Billion Price Tag

Hillary Clinton’s free college plan is long on promises but short on specifics - like who’ll pay for it.

Maybe the Clinton Foundation could foot the bill. After all, it received at least $500,000 from Arizona State University, not to mention tens of millions more from 180 other donors who lobbied the State Department when Clinton was in charge. If there’s one thing the Clintons understand, it’s how to generate free cash.

But not even the Clinton Foundation, with nearly $333 million in reported net assets, could afford Clinton’s college give-away, which she projects will cost $350 billion over the next 10 years.

Under the plan, officially dubbed the New College Compact, in-state tuition at public two-year and four-year colleges and universities would be free for students whose families earn $125,000 or less annually, roughly 80 percent of all American families.

The remaining 20 percent of American families, the supposed rich under Clinton’s plan, would foot the bill.

Additional tax funds, interest rate cuts, repayment caps and loan forgiveness schemes would be used to make college a virtually debt-free experience.

The projected cost of Clinton’s higher education free-for-all is bad enough. But it is probably just a down payment.

In reality, the plan doesn’t come close to covering public tuition and fees, which now total more than $70 billion annually - twice the projected yearly cost of Clinton’s plan. Nor would it fix the staggering student loan debt problem, which currently exceeds $1.3 trillion.

One of the worst elements of the plan is that college degrees will become about as meaningless as free high school diplomas.

Some 75 percent of U.S. high school graduates are not deemed college-ready in English, reading, math and science.

Many of those who go on to college have to enroll in remedial classes, increasing the likelihood they’ll drop out. The proposed Clinton subsidies will encourage more of the same.

If the past six decades have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t subsidize our way to college affordability, much less quality. The federal government’s reach into education has grown steadily since 1958, and with it, college costs that have increased at about twice the general inflation rate.

That’s because federal subsidies allow colleges and universities to increase prices with impunity. For all of Washington’s finger-wagging, few politicians are going to support withholding - much less cutting - federal aid. And colleges know it.

Perhaps the greatest cost of all to Clinton’s free college plan is nurturing the notion that a college degree is an entitlement, not something earned.

At most public colleges and universities, the majority of undergraduates already receive financial aid. And what are taxpayers getting for their investment?

In the past year or so alone, students at the University of California at San Diego had time for a topless “Free the Nipple” rally.

California Polytechnic State University students organized a three-day “Shit In” to promote gender-neutral bathrooms.

Students at the University of Texas at Austin traded in their longhorns for sex toys to protest a new campus carry law.

Such activities are taking place on campuses nationwide, largely on the taxpayers’ dime, at a time when an alarming majority of professors report their first-year college students can’t distinguish between fact and opinion, and at least 20 percent of undergraduates won’t complete their four-year degrees in six years.

With federal debt quickly approaching $20 trillion, Clinton’s proposed give-away is something our country can’t afford.

Yet the full cost of the Clinton plan can’t be measured entirely in dollars and cents.

Indeed, the full cost is incalculable because Clinton is trying to satisfy an insatiable appetite for entitlements that feeds off the hard work and sacrifice of others and is constantly demanding more.


Cruelty to Black Students

Last year's college news was about demands for safe spaces, trigger warnings and bans on insensitivity. This year's college news is about black student demands for segregated campus housing and other racially segregated campus spaces and programs. I totally disagree with these calls by black students. It's a gross dereliction of duty for college administrators to cave to these demands, but I truly sympathize with the problems that many black college students face. For college administrators and leftist faculty, the actual fate of black students is not nearly so important as the good feelings they receive from a black presence on campus. Let's examine some of the problem.

A very large percentage of all incoming freshmen have no business being admitted to college. According to College Board's 2015 report, the average combined SAT score for white students was 1576 out of a possible 2400. Black student SAT scores, at 1277, were the lowest of the seven reported racial groups. The College Board considers an SAT score of 1550 as the benchmark that indicates a readiness for college-level work. Only 32 percent of white students scored at or above proficient in math, and just 7 percent of black students did. Forty-six percent of white test takers scored proficient in reading, and 17 percent of blacks did. The ACT, another test used for admission to college, produced similar results. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reports, in an article titled "A Major Crisis in College Readiness for Black Students," that 34 percent of whites who took the ACT were deemed college-ready in all four areas — English, mathematics, reading and science. For blacks, it was only 6 percent.

These are significant differences in academic preparation between white and black students. I am sure that the differences give black students feelings of inferiority and being out of place. Black college students across the country have demanded segregated housing and other "safe spaces" on campuses designated for students of color. Students calling for segregated spaces do so because they allege their campuses are oppressive, are discriminatory and represent institutionalized racism. For decades, colleges have purchased peace by creating whole departments of ethnic, diversity and multicultural studies. All too often, these "studies" are about propaganda and not serious education. Plus, they provide students with an opportunity to get an easy A.

The most pervasive form of racial discrimination at most colleges is affirmative action. In the name of helping people from groups that have suffered past discrimination, colleges admit black students whose academic preparation differs significantly with that of their white peers. Those differences are not subtle. It should not come as a surprise that the intended beneficiaries of that "benign" discrimination feel themselves ridiculed, isolated and treated differently. As a result, students who might be successes in a less competitive environment are turned into failures. One faculty member at a historically black college put it this way: "The way we see it, the majority schools are wasting large numbers of good students. They have black students with admissions statistics (that are) very high, tops. But these students wind up majoring in sociology or recreation or get wiped out altogether."

The problem of black education begins long before college. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as The Nation's Report Card, shows that nationally in 2015, only 7 percent of black 12th-graders scored proficient in math, and only 17 percent did so in reading. This suggests that the average black 12th-grader has the academic proficiency of a white eighth- or ninth-grader. Consider the following question: If one admits 1,000 randomly selected eighth- and ninth-graders to college and admits 1,000 randomly selected 12th-graders, who do you think is going to come out on top? Who would be surprised if the eighth- and ninth-graders felt inferiority, oppression and insensitivity?

The academic elite feel righteous seeing blacks on campus, even if they are severely mismatched. Black people must ask: Are we going to sacrifice our youngsters so that white liberals can feel good about themselves?


Do Not Rely on Schools to Protect Your Children: Do It Yourself

One day when my daughter was only nine, I had a business appointment that would get me home a bit after school ended. But she had a Girl Scout meeting that afternoon at the school and that would give me an extra hour. I arranged for my two sons to stay in the after school program so I could pick them all up at once.

After my meeting, I was driving home when my cell phone rang. It was my daughter. "Mommy, where are you?"

"Where are you?" I asked her, feeling slightly panicked.

She was home. She'd felt a bit sick and told her teacher she was going to get on the bus and go home instead of attending her scout meeting.

No one called to check with me. The bus driver did not wait to see that an adult was home. There was no car in the driveway. My daughter entered the house and the bus took off.

She was a little scared so I asked her if she wanted to go next door to the neighbors. She wanted to stay on the phone with me and I told her to lock the doors and keep the dog near her and I would talk until I got there. I was only a few minutes away but there was a traffic tie up.

Needless to say, my husband and I were both at school that afternoon talking in heightened tones to the principal and our daughter's teacher. The bottom line was the school and bus companies had made a fairly serious error. It was uncharacteristic of both and our outrage re-upped their commitment to be diligent about the kids' safety and whereabouts.

Unfortunately, emergency preparedness for schools is not as simple as one child gone temporarily astray in the suburbs.

In Beslan, where terrorists attacked a school in Southern Russia, once again, the rules changed and the unthinkable happened. Terrorists using civilians, including hundreds of children, to make their hateful points -- in this case, demanding that Russian troops get out of Chechnya.

The hostage situation went from bad to worse with a ten-hour gun fight, explosion and fire in which over 300 people perished, 176 of them children.

Americans, taken by surprise on 9-11 by terrorist attacks on our shores previously thought unimaginable, were in shock once again along with the rest of the world. A school full of children and their families...

Could it happen here?

The appalling massacre at Newtown, Connecticut proves that not only could it happen here, it has already happened!  Our primary and secondary school children are not yet safe - neither are the students on our universities.

This is our vulnerability: the safety of our children.

Threat assessment expert and author Gavin de Becker proposes some good questions for parents to ask school administrators. My husband and I used these questions, from de Becker's book "Protecting the Gift," when we first enrolled our kids at their elementary school. I was surprised to hear there had been lockdown situations in the past - once when an inmate escaped from a nearby penitentiary. There was also an emergency plan in place in case of the need to evacuate.

According to de Becker, "Rather than relying on government, you can make at least as vigorous an inquiry of your child's school as you would of your child's babysitter. Below is a list of questions that can guide your evaluation of a school. The school should have a ready answer to every one of these questions. If they don't, the mere fact of your asking (which can be done in writing) will compel them to consider the issues. There may be resources the school feels would improve the safety of children, possibly even resources they have long wanted, and your own participation in the process can help them implement those improvements."

He suggests parents ask these questions:

    Do you have a policy manual or teacher's handbook? May I have a copy or review it here?
    Is the safety of students the first item addressed in the policy or handbook? If not, why not?
    Is the safety of students addressed at all?
    Are there policies addressing violence, weapons, drug use, sexual abuse, child-on-child sexual abuse, unauthorized visitors?
    Are background investigations performed on all staff?
    What areas are reviewed during these background inquiries?
    Who gathers the information?
    Who in the administration reviews the information and determines the suitability for employment?
    What are the criteria for disqualifying an applicant?
    Does the screening process apply to all employees (teachers, janitors, lunchroom staff, security personnel, part-time employees, bus drivers, etc.)?
    Is there a nurse on site at all times while children are present (including before and after school)?
    What is the nurse's education or training?
    Can my child call me at any time?
    May I visit my child at any time?
    What is your policy for when to contact parents?
    What are the parent notification procedures?
    What are the student pick-up procedures?
    How is it determined that someone other than me can pick up my child?
    How does the school address special situations (custody disputes, child kidnapping concerns, etc.)?
    Are older children separated from younger children during recess, lunch, rest-room breaks, etc.?
    Are acts of violence or criminality at the school documented? Are statistics maintained?
    May I review the statistics?
    What violence or criminality has occurred at the school during the last three years?
    Is there a regular briefing of teachers and administrators to discuss safety and security issues?
    Are teachers formally notified when a child with a history of serious misconduct is introduced to their class?
    What is the student-to-teacher ratio in class? During recess? During meals?
    How are students supervised during visits to the rest-room?
    Will I be informed of teacher misconduct that might have an impact on the safety or well-being of my child?
    Are there security personnel on the premises?
    Are security personnel provided with written policies and guidelines?
    Is student safety the first issue addressed in the security policy and guidelines material? If not, why not?
    Is there a special background investigation conducted on security personnel, and what does it encompass?
    Is there any control over who can enter the grounds?
    If there is an emergency in a classroom, how does the teacher summon help?
    If there is an emergency on the playground, how does the teacher summon help?
    What are the policies and procedures covering emergencies (fire, civil unrest, earthquake, violent intruder, etc.)?
    How often are emergency drills performed?
    What procedures are followed when a child is injured?
    What hospital would my child be transported to in the event of a serious injury?
    Can I designate a different hospital? A specific family doctor?
    What police station responds to the school?
    Who is the school's liaison at the police department?

De Becker refers to not relying on the government. Parents in search of information on school emergency preparedness will find the going tough when using the U.S. Department of Education or Centers for Disease Control Web sites, as the information is not easily accessible. It is better to use your county as a jumping off point. Most have emergency management brochures that can be downloaded from the Internet.

But when it comes down to the details, it is up to parents and schools to connect, to communicate, and to know what the plan is. After the Virginia Tech University massacre and the killings that continue to happen sporadically throughout the country, isn't it now time to focus on a thorough reorganization of all official programs which must be designed, then activated in order to secure the safety of our children?


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