Posts Tagged ‘Veterans


Change is in Our Future Not Our Past


icon_digg15 Every good past President has looked to the future, while every failed administration has suffered with the past, in part by their own misunderstandings of the failure(s) and to fully concentrate on moving their own agenda’s forward!  Consequently, we the American public are as much to blame, for their failures as they are.

Today in office we have elected a forward looking Chief Executive, tasked with the mission of tackling the previous administrations failures and deceptions; while moving onwards his own vision of how America should be.

To me, this means let the president delegate responsible, for corrective action on the issues concerning Gitmo, torture, Rove, FOIA and FISA to his appropriate cabinet members and select committees within congress.

We as diligent citizens and supposed caretakers of our country should and must be focused on issues such as health care, getting out of Iraq, the economy and perhaps an over looked issued by many, an improved, affordable plan to enhance our current educational system of higher learning.

We have seen hundreds of thousands of jobs disappear over the past several months, will these jobs ever come back?  The answer is “No”!

Soon we will have thousands of veterans returning from overseas, will they remain in the military service?  Again, the answer is possibly “No”!

So what are the solutions to the aforementioned issues within the Obama Administration?  I feel the president has chosen the most correct choice by relying on what made our nation what it was in the “past” – “Education”.

But, as we all know, including the president, both the cost and quality are the downsides for most of us, even the slightly “upper middle class”.

As quoted by President Obama (President Obama on Higher Education and Reforming Student Loans):

Over the past few decades, the cost of tuition at private colleges has more than doubled, while costs at public institutions have nearly tripled. Tuition has grown ten times faster than a typical family’s income, while inefficiencies in the student loan system provide lenders billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies instead of making college more affordable for all Americans.


When we review the 60’s, the days of placing a man on the moon and the golden times of NASA; education was at our country’s forefront, even while the Vietnam War was in progress, education was considered a must for survival in the Cold War overall and personal success in life as an individual(s).

We must not accept taking a backseat within the international community, as we have and again noted by the President in his Remarks by the President at the National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting:

Our schools continue to trail other developed countries and, in some cases, developing countries.  Our students are outperformed in math and science by their peers in Singapore, Japan, England, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Korea, among others.  Another assessment shows American 15-year-olds ranked 25th in math and 21st in science when compared to nations around the world.  And we have watched as scientific integrity has been undermined and scientific research politicized in an effort to advance predetermined ideological agendas.

Complementing while confirming the aforementioned is the following from Gallup Polls with an article entitled: “Public Discontent With Quality of U.S. Education, where we can see the American public over the past eight years have been frustrated with the Bush Administration’s progress on education:

A three-year aggregate of Gallup data (2002-2004)* on attitudes toward the public schools indicates that 44% of Americans are very (11%) or somewhat (33%) satisfied with public education, but a slight majority, 55%, are either very (25%) or somewhat (30%) dissatisfied. Despite these negative perceptions about the quality of the U.S. education system, past surveys have demonstrated that most Americans are happy with their own educations and the educations their children receive.


So, should you subscribe to the fact our nation’s higher learning institutions are to expensive and our primary education system(s) of public schools are not performing as they should; how is the president and perhaps more selfishly “us the American public” going to resolve the educational systems and turn their services into “jobs” and an increased standard of living for all of us?

The President has prepared congress for needed changes, staring with his Fiscal Budget for 2010 with major investments in broadband networks, clean energy technologies, and health information technology, as I’ve quoted him here (Fact Sheet A Historic Commitment To Research And Education):

President Obama has already made science and technology a top priority:  The Recovery Act includes $21.5 billion for research and development, the largest increase in our Nation’s history, and well as major investments in broadband networks, clean energy technologies, and health information technology.  The President’s FY10 budget includes sustained increases in basic research, $75 billion to make the research and experimentation tax credit permanent, and funding to triple the number of the National Science Foundation’s graduate research fellowships.  The President is committed to restoring integrity to science policy, and making decisions on the basis of evidence, rather than ideology.

Also, the President has enacted steps within his own Executive Branch (President Obama Meets with Family Struggling with College Costs, Underscores Need to Eliminate Wasteful Spending in Federal Student Loan Program, Reinvest Savings in Making College More Affordable):

Today, President Barack Obama met with a family struggling to afford the cost of college and underscored his commitment to cutting wasteful spending on federal student loans by ending taxpayer subsidies to banks.  President Obama discussed the strain that rising tuition costs are placing on middle class families and his proposal to end the private Federal Family Education Loans program that lines the pockets of the banks who serve as middlemen while costing the American people $5 billion a year.

As I elated to earlier, since this is a failure of past administrations to attend address the president has wisely delegated this national concern to Vice President Joe Biden, who in my own opinion as been doing an outstanding job for the president in seeing all measurers are brought to the forefront on getting legislation authored and past in a bipartisan manner.

Vice President Biden has implemented “Middle Class Task Force” to find solutions and assist him in seeing colleges become more affordable through a series of town hall meetings. Here in an excerpt from such a meeting in St. Louis, the excerpt is entitled: “Middle Class Task Force Report: College Affordability

Middle Class Task Force Report: College Affordability

Middle Class Task Force Report: College Affordability

An obstacle to federal student aid is the unnecessarily complicated application process that is often intimidating to families and students seeking loans. In order to qualify for aid, students or their parents must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which contains well over 100 questions on income, assets, family characteristics, personal characteristics, and other items. Completing the FAFSA requires families to sift through paperwork and transfer numbers from tax forms that they may or may not have readily available.

The following is a downloadable pdf report, which bears reading, regarding steps being taken by the Obama administration to lower college cost to the middle class desiring to enter college and making the application procedure more simplified and friendly:

Middle Class Task Force Staff Report (pdf)

So, what’s the Point:

Much “to do” recently has been made in the media over the release of torture memos and the president’s first 100 days in office, which are all constructive concerns and self-servicing pats on our own backs for electing the “right person for the right job”, but lets not get hung-up on the issues of witch hunts and arrogance that got us into the trouble we’re in today.

Lets keep pressing forward in correcting mistakes and apathy of the past with “new ideas” and approaches that will insure we’re never in the fix we are in today.

After all wasn’t it President Bush who said “Fool me once and you’re a fool, fool me twice and I’m a fool”.

The following selections of videos cement President Obama’s commitment to the middle class and his devotion to insuring every American is entitled to higher learning:

Opening the Doors of Higher Education

Taking a defiant stance towards those banks defending the status quo, the President proposes cutting out the middle man in student loans for a savings of almost $50 billion over ten years.

Additional Videos:

Real Tax Cuts Making a Real Difference

Flanked by Americans who have benefited from his Making Work Pay tax credit, President Obama speaks about his tax policy and how it is helping people across the nation.

Taking on Education

The President explains the urgency of changing the way we educate our children, and offers four pillars of reform.

Meet Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talks about the source of his passion for education reform — and why he thinks it’s about more than education, it’s about social justice.

Update 2 May 09:

Universities in Crisis? From Compartmentalization to Collaboration
Michael Roth | President, Wesleyan University

In the last several days there has been a flurry of articles bemoaning the condition of American higher education. Two stand out. In the New York Times religion professor Mark C. Taylor enjoyed comparing American graduate education to the US automotive industry. Ouch. It was small relief that he seemed to be thinking mainly about a handful of humanities disciplines. In the New York Review of Books, Andrew Delbanco traced the steady erosion of the American promise of social mobility through post-secondary education. In the wake of a financial crisis that has drained endowments and led to decreased public support for higher ed, Delbanco wonders how America can prevent its best universities from becoming finishing schools for the rich. In this post I will comment on Taylor’s view, and in a future post I’ll write about access and social mobility.

Update 04 May 09:

Tom Vander Ark: 2020 Forecast: the Future of Learning
from by Tom Vander Ark

“You will have a teacher as a personal tutor who will follow you through your school years, help you and train you in planning and developing your learning strategies, follow up your school work and be available for support and control. As you learn to set your goals yourself and to plan your own time, you will be allowed to take a greater responsibility for your own studies. Thus, our method of working will teach you to take personal responsibility and to become independent.”

This quote is not from a future scenario planning exercise, it’s a description of a school, actually 22 schools with 10,000 students, but as you may have guessed from the spelling, they’re not in the US. The chain is Kunskapsskolan in Sweden where a national voucher system supports innovative schools. Their web site is a pretty good description of where learning is headed–at least in places where leadership is focused more on kids and the future than adults and the past.

Volcker’s ‘Great Recession:’ Unemployment Will Be Redefined
from The Huffington Post News Editors

Post-recession America may be saddled with high unemployment even after good times finally return.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs have vanished forever in industries such as auto manufacturing and financial services. Millions of people who were fired or laid off will find it harder to get hired again and for years may have to accept lower earnings than they enjoyed before the slump.


A Lot of Talk Finally Some Action

Call Centers - India

Call Centers - India

icon_digg11 During the Presidential campaign we heard numerous politicians expounding on their concepts on ways to retrain our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and fellow Americans workers who saw their jobs outsourced overseas.

Finally we have one brave Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania with a workable plan to introduce a new law that aims to pay community colleges nationwide $1,000 per student to retrain laid-off workers, which Casey says would come from existing funds already allocated to job retraining in the department’s budget.

In an article authored by Anne Fisher of TIME, entitled: “Tuition Help for the Unemployed Gains Traction” the following excerpts regarding Senator Casey’s pending bill:

His inspiration for the bill: Pennsylvania’s community colleges, 10 of which have enrolled 1,062 unemployed workers in free training programs this semester, at a total cost to the schools of $741,788. “They shouldn’t have to foot the bill alone,” Casey says. “My bill will encourage other community colleges across the U.S. to do the same thing.” Senate Democrats are working to build bipartisan support for the bill and expect to move it forward in the coming months. (See TIME’s special report on paying for college.)

A few states already have a head start. California, whose 11.2% March unemployment rate is the state’s highest since 1941, is rushing to funnel $415 million in federal stimulus money to 49 job-retraining centers. Most of the training will be designed to qualify people for jobs in infrastructure construction, health care and green industries like waste recycling and wind-farm technology. In Texas, legislators will vote next month on a final version of a 2010-11 budget, already passed by the state senate, that boosts spending on higher education by $1.5 billion. That figure includes $500 million in federal stimulus funding for workforce retraining and a $134 million state-funded increase in financial aid for students.

Michigan, whose 12.6% jobless rate is the highest in the U.S., with still more auto-plant closings coming soon, launched its “No Worker Left Behind” program in August 2007. So far the state has footed the bill — up to $10,000 per displaced worker — for 61,434 unemployed Michiganders to learn the math, technology and science skills they need to embark on new careers at companies like Hemlock Semiconductor, Dow Chemical and Dow Corning, which are investing and hiring there. Also in demand: the program’s newly trained nursing assistants, physical therapists and health-care technicians.

Hopefully Senator Casey’s proposed legislation will quickly be approved, in congress, since it won’t be long before our long awaited veterans will finally be returning home and will be in direr need of employment.

The following video concerning outsourcing is a revolutionary twist on outsourcing.  American workers have themselves gotten into the act of sending their jobs overseas.  For example; there are tasks, such as proof reading that could be accomplished overseas as well as it could be done in the office back in the states, thus allowing more time, useful energy and increased productivity to be devoted to other, more important tasks.  Give the video a watch it’s interesting.

More American Workers Outsourcing Own Jobs Overseas

The following video concerning outsourcing is a revolutionary twist on outsourcing.  American workers have themselves gotten into the act of sending their jobs overseas.  For example; there are tasks, such as proof reading that could be accomplished overseas as well as it could be done in the office back in the states, thus allowing more time, useful energy and increased productivity to be devoted to other, more important tasks.  Give the video a watch it’s interesting.

Update 05 May 09:

Gary Shapiro: American Brain Drain: Why We Need H1B Visa Immigration Reform
from by Gary Shapiro

America’s immigration system is broken. While most focus on illegal immigration or changing ethnicities of legal immigration, what concerns me is that we are losing our historic ability to attract and retain the word’s brightest and most entrepreneurial workers.

Silicon Valley exemplifies an American success story threatened by a shift in how we treat the type of bright foreign-born technologists and entrepreneurs who help make us great. These engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs build companies that create jobs and wealth in the United States. Of the 163,000 applications for H1B visas received last year, the law allows for just 65,000 approvals picked through a lottery system. H1B visas allow foreign workers in specialty occupations to work in the United States.

The Month in Review

December 2018
« Dec