In my last commentary I reviewed the major elements of the Republican education platform. Since then, the Democratic Platform has been passed, a platform which addresses a number of policy areas dealing with both K-12 and higher education, and not surprisingly, reflects a number of programs begun during President Obama’s first term in office.
Election 2012 is now in full swing. The rhetoric is escalating across many different policy areas -- from the economy, to international relations and defense, to healthcare, to immigration, to such social issues as abortion rights and same sex marriage. In my commentary today, I will focus on the education components of the just – released Republican platform. Subsequent commentaries will address the Democratic education platform and discuss how the public policy proposals of each party differ and could impact K-12 and higher education.
Horrific criminal acts against innocent young boys at Penn State; the multiple deaths and injuries resulting from the tragic shootings by a student on the campus of Virginia Tech; the murder-suicide of a University of Idaho professor and his graduate student; and now, the incomprehensible acts of violence in Aurora, Colorado by a former student from the Anshutz Medical Campus of The University of Colorado-Denver…all of these tragic events share one thing in common: they involved acts by individuals who were members of a university at the time of the incidents, or immediately prior to them.
The scandal which has engulfed Pennsylvania State University since last November most likely reflects the consequences of an institution trying to protect the reputation of its lucrative and immensely successful football program above all other considerations – even the safety of innocent young boys. Mr.
Let me start today’s commentary on innovation in higher education with a brief scenario. A college professor, along with a group of teaching assistants and upper-level undergraduate students, organized his freshman physics section of some 200 students into multiple small groups to discuss the lecture they all had already heard on-line by a Nobel Laureate who was not only an exceptional physicist, but also an exceptionally engaging teacher . The two-hour class flew by as each small group discussed the concepts presented by the Nobel Laureate, and developed experiments to demonstrate thei
This past weekend I, along with many other extremely fortunate citizens of the Capital Region, experienced a truly memorable event at RPI’s stunning Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center – or EMPAC. Entitled John Brown’s Body, the event commemorated the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and was a partnership of the Albany Pro Musica and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. The music was sometimes haunting, sometimes a call-to-arms, sometimes ethereal, sometimes dirge-like, sometimes jubilant and, at all times, exquisitely beautiful.
Over the last several months, concerns regarding our nation’s system of higher education have continued to escalate…concerns regarding cost, quality, rigor and, yes, even long-term value. And, as we all know, the employment opportunities for recent graduates of our institutions of higher education, particularly those who have earned a baccalaureate degree, have decreased substantially, despite the fact that members of the nation’s high technology sector have stated that there are not sufficient numbers of U.S.
In his State of the Union address this past January, President Obama warned the higher education community that, “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.” Clearly, “affordability” of postsecondary education is a top priority of this administration. President Obama went on to say that, “We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition, we’ll run out of money. States need to do their part by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down."
Total student debt in America has hit the $1 trillion mark, exceeding, for the first time, national credit card debt. Yet at this very moment, the airways and media outlets are alive with stories and opinion pieces regarding the imminent doubling of the interest rate on new Stafford Subsidized Loans to undergraduates. While in college at least half-time, students holding such need-based, federally guaranteed loans pay no interest; rather, the government pays the interest which accrues during that time.