Sunday, May 07, 2017

What is the one thing you regret doing or not doing the most in your life?

By Matthew Bates

Taking out student loans. A lot of them.

I went to an expensive, private university 100% on loans, for both my undergrad and, five years later, my graduate degree. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and my parents didn’t quite understand how the financing worked. They just knew that they couldn’t help me with it at all.

When it was all said and done, I owed over $100,000 for a worthless B.A. in Communications, a minor in English and a worthwhile M.A. in Teaching.

I could have gotten the same thing from a public university for about $20,000 if I had done it right.

And I even worked the entire time I was in college, to pay for my room and board. It’s not as if I had been lazy during those years.

Here’s what they don’t tell you about student loans: they make you pay the interest first. I’ve been paying almost $400 per month for over ten years (with a two-year grad school break in the middle), and my principal hasn’t gone down at all. I still owe just as much now as the day I graduated.

Barring some windfall of money in my future, I will not be done paying these loans until I am 62.

I’m 37, and I’m still paying for classes I took when I was 18, in 1998. It’s soul-crushing. And I have no one to blame but myself.


Middlebury Students Vote To Protest Discipline Of Charles Murray Protesters

Even as Middlebury College administrators investigated students who were disruptive and violent against libertarian social scientist Charles Murray, the school’s student government expressed its sentiments that penalizing their behavior is unjust.

On Monday, the Middlebury administration announced it had disciplined 30 students so far for their actions during the Murray event. Students had stood up and shouted to prevent Murray from speaking. When he was moved to a different location, along with professor Allison Stanger, who was set to ask him tough questions about his books, students banged on the windows and pulled fire alarms, which shut off the talk’s livestream.

When Stanger and Murray left the building, students surrounded them and further antagonized Murray, resulting in an injury to Stanger that required a neck brace. They also beat on their car’s windows, rocked the car, and threw a stop sign with a heavy concrete base in front of the car as Stanger and Murray attempted to leave the tumult.

But on April 12, more than a month after the attack on Murray and Stanger and after Middlebury began investigating more than 70 students for their behavior (the school is still working on disciplining the remaining students), the student government voted to demand the administration change the college handbook and not punish students who violated the original.

The ‘Marginalized’ Can Do No Wrong

The student bill argued that arresting students who engage in violent and disruptive behavior would result in “psychological trauma for marginalized students.” That’s right, the student government essentially argued that people it deems “marginalized” should get a free pass on violence and disorderly conduct.

The students also associated arrests and criminal charges “with police violence and the carceral state, which law professor Michelle Alexander refers to as ‘the New Jim Crow.’” What do these students want, no more police? Because that’s how this comes off.


Smart parents favour quality education over fancy buildings

Comment from Australia

With student numbers swelling in city public schools — partly because of population growth and partly because of a slowdown in the drift to non-government schools — the NSW and Victorian state governments have plans to build a bunch of new schools. Sensibly, they have realised that urban land availability does not allow the traditional sprawl of buildings and playgrounds, so the new city schools will be high rises.

Media reports in Sydney and Melbourne show the schools to be at the fancy end of the architectural scale. They’ll no doubt be equipped with all of the latest — soon to be outdated — technology and will have ‘learning spaces’ instead of classrooms, ‘information resource centres’ (RIP libraries), and cafés … vale, the humble tuckshop.

Contrast this with Chatswood Public School in Sydney. Due to its outstanding reputation for academic quality, its student numbers have almost doubled in the past 10 years. It is so over capacity that demountable classrooms have been placed in the car park and on the oval of the high school across the road to meet demand.

There is a high premium on house and rental prices in the enrolment zone. Parents are willing to bypass a nearby under-capacity school and pay a real estate premium to have their child educated in a demountable classroom in a crowded school. They do this because they believe the teaching and learning is first rate, and this outstrips all other factors. While Chatswood is perhaps the best known example of this phenomenon, it is far from the only one.

To be clear: students and teachers in public schools should have comfortable, high quality facilities that are fit for purpose. But in their eagerness to provide this, state governments should not lose sight of the fact that whizz-bang buildings are not necessarily the highest priority for parents. Astute parents know that there is no substitute for a great teacher and a strong curriculum — whether it’s in a demountable classroom or a multi-billion dollar learning space. Governments need to make sure their priorities are just as sound.


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