As I have written in the past, a lot of attention is currently being paid to the topic of student loan debt in the United States (a couple of representative posts can be found here and here). Earlier this year, President Obama proposed to make community college free for all students, motivated at least in part by concerns over the growing volume of student loan debt in the nation. With the 2016 presidential campaign starting to gear up, there are already indications that student loans will be an important topic of debate.
I recently received in my email inbox a request to sign a petition to “forgive all student loan debt” in the country. The email did not come from some fringe group that was an offshoot of the Occupy Movement that first started a few years ago, and included as one of its platforms the elimination of all student loan debt. The email came from the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teacher union in the country, representing over 1.6 million members. The AFT, in conjunction with other groups, is calling on President Obama and Congress to wipe out all of the existing $1.3 trillion in loan debt held by current and former college students in the nation.
Continue reading “Why I won’t sign the petition to cancel all student debt”
The presidential election is less than a month away, and the candidates are gearing up for the final push. As most observers expected, the economy has dominated much of the political discourse. But other topics have crept into the campaigns, including education.
Last week’s first presidential debate focused on domestic policy issues, and moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS opened the session by stating that it would be divided into six segments, with, “three on the economy and one each on health care, the role of government, and governing,” according to Mr. Lehrer (you can read a transcript or watch a video of the debate if you missed it). Lehrer did ask one question about education: “Does the federal government have a responsibility to improve the quality of public education in America?”
Governor Romney’s response to this question was one of the few times where he said that his views were aligned with any policies of the Obama administration, stating that he agreed with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top program. President Obama, not surprisingly, also touted the Race to the Top program, as well as other initiatives his Department of Education and administration had put into place, including steps to try to control the growth in tuition prices across the country.
Continue reading “Education and the presidential election”