Skelly Should be Teaching Personal Responsibility, Not Handout 101
Original post made
by kat, Palo Alto High School,
on Nov 12, 2007
I recently read an article about our new Superintendent, Kevin Skelly, meeting with some students who attend Palo Alto schools under the voluntary transfer program and agreeing with the idea that the students attending through VTP are not receiving enough support from our schools and therefore are not as likely to attend college. They complain that they cannot afford to attend our state schools and cannot even afford SAT review courses.
Kevin Skelly actually suggested to these students that he could help them by mobilizing a privately funded source of money for kids in the VTP. Why? State colleges are a great deal and anyone, from anywhere, can obtain a student loan to attend. Yes, there will be a bill for the student to pay back at the end of college and after he or she obtains full-time employment, but that's the way most of the people I know from my generation went through college. We would never consider looking for a handout in order to avoid having college debt when we finished school. What is going on here? I can't believe Kevin Skelly didn't bring this concept to their attention.
As far as an SAT review course being so expensive that they are unable to attend one . . . No way! Palo Alto High School even has a course that is put on by, I think, Ivy West. It costs around $50.00. You can't tell me that they or their family can't find $50.00 in their household for such an important class. This isn't a surprise when you are approaching the SAT testing years. Save $1.00 per week for the year prior to beginning the class and you're set.
What Kevin Skelly should have been telling these kids was to begin taking personal responsibility for themselves. Not relying on everyone else to give them what they want. This has got to stop. Personal responsibility needs to be reinforced in our schools...now!
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Posted by realist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2007 at 9:59 am
How much of the enrollment growth is citizens versus students from overseas (who often have their education covered by their governments or have even considered coming here for an education because they are privileged to begin with)? How does the growth compare to just the growth of our population?
Ah yes, a mortgage to live in a home, a mortgage to get an education, a mortgage to get the medical treatment to save your life. Oops, hardly anyone can have that many mortgages - sell the house to pay the mortgage on the education (as my parents did), if you still have the house after the medical treatment. Did my parents think it was worth it? Well, the calculation they had to make when I was in the middle of the education and the costs were jumping beyond any reasonable expectation from previous tuition increases were different than if I'd had that information when choosing a college. And of course, no one really believes what our medical system does to people until they go through it, and that mortgage wasn't on the horizon yet then. I never got to use my education because of the medical gauntlet. Can I get my money back? I'm not sure I think it was worth it now.
I'd like to use a more apt analogy. Way back in the early days of the industrial revolution, worker conditions were horrendous for the masses. The overclass then also righteously felt that the poor were of course to blame for the filthy crowded conditions they lived in, the rampant disease, crime in their midst, infant mortality, and all the human failings that always seem to accompany despair. Yes, many people got out of there through hard work, but far more didn't, despite hard work. Isn't it interesting how the advent of modern sanitation practices, worker rights, social security, etc., changed all that. Our country then benefitted because of a healthy, educated, burgeoning middle class, which has been - surprise! - shrinking as we have gone back more and more to forgetting that public health or social spending are investments in the success of our society as a whole. Oh, but on second thought, isn't it just horrible to have one's luxury vacations ruined by too many other people who can afford them, and all that competition in college and entry-level jobs from public school-nursed cretans?
(Here, parenthetically, is a link to an article about how doctors voted sanitation as the greatest medical advance since 1840. How is it that we ever got sanitation - shouldn't we have instead reminded poor people of their personal responsibility not to throw their waste into the gutters? Let them take out loans to pay for utility services, I'm sure they would think it's worth it. How lazy do they have to be that we have to put public money into cleaning up their messes? They don't NEED to throw their chamber pots into the gutters, and why should they have clean water delivered to them? People have been fetching their water from wells for thousands of years...
Note: for the reactionary few who will take that literally, please reread the above paragraph remembering the word IRONY. Terry, that's not you, I see from your past posts that you are sophisticated enough to get what I am trying to say from some irony.)
The point is, what kind of society are we? I'd rather we weren't aiming so hard to become more like 20th century Mexico. I heard an economist point out that we have become economically more like America of the 20's in so many important ways. We weren't the great nation and international power then that we became thirty years later, after the change in public policy and social spending.
The money from the GI bill helped fuel the growth in higher ed in a way that we haven't seen since. Using enrollment growth numbers is a disingenuous measure. How much capital and infrastructure spending has happened in recent years versus when money flowed freely into universities because of the GI bill? I saw a Technology Review article once that said the number of women getting advanced degrees dropped dramatically as an unintended side effect of men bringing so much money to the university system because of the GI bill. The numbers of women getting advanced degrees didn't rebound to pre-war levels until the mid to late '70s (so it couldn't just be the baby boom).
Crushing debt does not equal opportunity. I'm sure I'm not going to win an argument over the need for us to rethink our social spending, anymore than I ever won an argument with smokers over why they shouldn't exercise their "right" to fill my air space with black foul-smelling particulates. But we did eventually win that fight. So for now, just consider me one of the seething masses who will press for universal healthcare and quality education to the level of every citizen's potential (without crushing debt) at every opportunity.
As for the rest, find the links on Google. I don't think for a minute that spending my time going down that road will change your mind! How one thinks about public expenditures really comes down to values, and as I said, I'm sure that's not an argument I'm going to win here.
In the meantime, I wish Kevin Skelley success in trying to bring real opportunity to every student in our midst who needs it!