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  #1  
Old 12-22-2010, 08:40 PM
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Default Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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  #2  
Old 12-22-2010, 10:03 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

The conversation starts with David's explanation that Congress wants to insure that college programs prepare students for the job market. It's a valid concern.

However, I fear that Congress isn't up to that job. No one really knows what jobs will be in demand 10 years from now. One can only make an educated guess, if you'll pardon the pun. And what if that chemical engineering job the government promised is not there after graduation? Does the government then have the duty to hire you anyway?

There is much dynamism in Americans' career paths; I'm not doing what I was trained for, and I believe this is a common situation. It's not a bad thing, either. It brings about a lot of cross-fertilization between fields.
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2010, 10:18 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
The conversation starts with David's explanation that Congress wants to insure that college programs prepare students for the job market. It's a valid concern.

However, I fear that Congress isn't up to that job. No one really knows what jobs will be in demand 10 years from now. One can only make an educated guess, if you'll pardon the pun. And what if that chemical engineering job the government promised is not there after graduation? Does the government then have the duty to hire you anyway?

There is much dynamism in Americans' career paths; I'm not doing what I was trained for, and I believe this is a common situation. It's not a bad thing, either. It brings about a lot of cross-fertilization between fields.
It would be nice if the programs offered were designed to credibly educate people in the fields they choose. I have a relative taking a "software engineering" course at an big name online college. There is exactly one course left before graduation, and the only programming problem she's been asked to solve (iterated over and over again, in four different programming languages with only a small amount of increasing complexity) is a ^$&#(*^ mortgage calculator - plus some some fairly elementary HTML and a little SQL. All this over three years of classes with a bill over 50 grand.
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2010, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
It would be nice if the programs offered were designed to credibly educate people in the fields they choose. I have a relative taking a "software engineering" course at an big name online college. There is exactly one course left before graduation, and the only programming problem she's been asked to solve (iterated over and over again, in four different programming languages with only a small amount of increasing complexity) is a ^$&#(*^ mortgage calculator - plus some some fairly elementary HTML and a little SQL. All this over three years of classes with a bill over 50 grand.
Ouch. Could've gotten that at a community college for less than 10 thousand.

I think it's ludicrous for the government to try to involve itself in college curriculum. I got my undergrad from a good university, double majored and finished with close to a 4.0; I still didn't have much luck on the job market but I knew that I wasn't choosing the most job-friendly majors. That's why there's graduate school.
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  #5  
Old 12-23-2010, 11:32 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
I have a relative taking a "software engineering" course at an big name online college. There is exactly one course left before graduation, and the only programming problem she's been asked to solve (iterated over and over again, in four different programming languages with only a small amount of increasing complexity) is a ^$&#(*^ mortgage calculator - plus some some fairly elementary HTML and a little SQL. All this over three years of classes with a bill over 50 grand.
That's pretty sad.
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2010, 10:27 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

So I assume this wasn't ABET credited?
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  #7  
Old 12-22-2010, 11:11 PM
qingl78 qingl78 is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

After listening, I hope I never hear a libertarian say that the real reason for unemployment is that the people are not trained for the jobs available today because I just heard a libertarian say that not everyone should be trained for the jobs available today.
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  #8  
Old 12-23-2010, 01:34 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by qingl78 View Post
After listening, I hope I never hear a libertarian say that the real reason for unemployment is that the people are not trained for the jobs available today because I just heard a libertarian say that not everyone should be trained for the jobs available today.

Let's put it another way, not everyone should be trained for every job available today. I wish there was a more accurate way of forecasting the suite of career paths people would do well at.


I have a cousin that called me the other day asking how to set up his wireless router. About a half hour later I was finally able to coach him through the process. It drained me of nearly all my energy, but reminded me of something. Not everyone is good at everything. To give people like him money for say a computer science degree would be a waste for both his own future prospects, and the one who gave the money in the first place.

Not an argument to funnel NO resources his way for some pathway to a better career, but there are constraints to how far people can easily go in different areas.

The real problem is figuring out what areas we can open up to people who can't get as much benefit from some typical 4 year institution or some shoddy online course.
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  #9  
Old 12-26-2010, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by qingl78 View Post
After listening, I hope I never hear a libertarian say that the real reason for unemployment is that the people are not trained for the jobs available today because I just heard a libertarian say that not everyone should be trained for the jobs available today.
Definitely. If everyone were to be trained for the jobs available today there wouldn't be anyone left able to do the jobs available tomorrow.
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2010, 04:53 AM
sapeye sapeye is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

Interesting idea about people learning to be hair dressers on the job. I'm trying to imagine Katherine dropping into her local salon, having her regular stylist say, "We have a new employee here that has no clue about cutting hair, but s/he's gotta learn somewhere. Do you mind if he/she has a whack at your head?"
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  #11  
Old 12-23-2010, 10:53 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by sapeye View Post
Interesting idea about people learning to be hair dressers on the job. I'm trying to imagine Katherine dropping into her local salon, having her regular stylist say, "We have a new employee here that has no clue about cutting hair, but s/he's gotta learn somewhere. Do you mind if he/she has a whack at your head?"
But there must be many jobs which can be learned at the workplace. Going to a four year university to become an office manager seems pretty pointless.
That is the type of position which can be worked up to over time. On the job training instead of a big loan to pay off...that's the ticket!
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2010, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by sapeye View Post
Interesting idea about people learning to be hair dressers on the job. I'm trying to imagine Katherine dropping into her local salon, having her regular stylist say, "We have a new employee here that has no clue about cutting hair, but s/he's gotta learn somewhere."
I agree that cutting hair requires professional training. But there are professions that require no training: for example, political science. (Nothing there you can't learn by reading a book during TV commercials.)
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2010, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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I agree that cutting hair requires professional training. But there are professions that require no training: for example, political science. (Nothing there you can't learn by reading a book during TV commercials.)
You're either joking or 发狂.
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  #14  
Old 12-23-2010, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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You're either joking or 发狂.
I believe ohreally was referring to the political science of Mrs. Mangu-Ward and the Cato Institute. Not the Chinese stuff.
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  #15  
Old 12-23-2010, 10:59 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

Quote:
I agree that cutting hair requires professional training. But there are professions that require no training: for example, political science. (Nothing there you can't learn by reading a book during TV commercials.)
The fact that cutting hair requires professional training does not mean you can't learn on the job. Apprenticeship programs can be outstanding in many fields. But we need to learn to better incentivize and/or subsidize them. (In other words, there's still a role for government).

Educational vouchers are not a bad idea for post-high school learning, but high schools also need to do a better job of teaching old-fashioned non-liberal arts trades. Community colleges also drop the ball here. Everything is bachelor-degree oriented, and CCs (at least in California) have an abysmal record at transfering students to four-year institutions.

One big problem with the failure to teach non-bachelor-degree skills either on-the-job or in school is that young people end up with two options: Mac Jobs for ever (minimum wage, low status, poverty level) or the biggest employer in the welfare state, the Military.

Displaying Yale credentials for the middle class, as both David and Katherine did, are 90% status markers and 10% skill markers (roughly). But for the working class, the military works the same way. Being a "veteran" also is a huge status booster in the context of the non-unionized, entry-level universe.
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  #16  
Old 12-24-2010, 12:37 AM
ohreally ohreally is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Displaying Yale credentials for the middle class, as both David and Katherine did, are 90% status markers and 10% skill markers (roughly). But for the working class, the military works the same way. Being a "veteran" also is a huge status booster in the context of the non-unionized, entry-level universe.
Yale is about branding and networking. A first-rate finishing school. You're right, for the little people, the military is the only status booster they can hope for. Pizza hut doesn't carry the same prestige. On the other hand, Pizza hut produces pizza you can eat, whereas the military seems only good at losing wars and eating up most of the federal budget. Since America seems intent on being on the losing side of history, perhaps its military is the perfect model.
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  #17  
Old 12-24-2010, 03:21 AM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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One big problem with the failure to teach non-bachelor-degree skills either on-the-job or in school is that young people end up with two options: Mac Jobs for ever (minimum wage, low status, poverty level) or the biggest employer in the welfare state, the Military.
Or, teaching English in foreign countries.
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  #18  
Old 12-24-2010, 12:02 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
The fact that cutting hair requires professional training does not mean you can't learn on the job. Apprenticeship programs can be outstanding in many fields. But we need to learn to better incentivize and/or subsidize them. (In other words, there's still a role for government).
Why isn't the prospect of getting a good job sufficient incentive? Government subsidization will only make sure that trades which aren't needed have too many applicants. Solar panel installers, anyone? The union I belonged to offered four trade apprenticship programs and they were paid for by the employers and members. They had complete control of who and how many got in. Those were the good old days when unions had an actual purpose besides extortion.

The government should step away from the economy.
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  #19  
Old 12-24-2010, 02:33 AM
sapeye sapeye is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by ohreally View Post
I agree that cutting hair requires professional training. But there are professions that require no training: for example, political science. (Nothing there you can't learn by reading a book during TV commercials.)
I agree, too. I think a apprenticeship program can be a really good career path. My guess is that more than half of university students don't really need to be in university programs for what they want and need to learn for what they want to do. The whole educational system is out of whack from the ground up. It's just that the thought of Katherine being used in a training session tickled my funny bone.
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  #20  
Old 12-26-2010, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Interesting idea about people learning to be hair dressers on the job. I'm trying to imagine Katherine dropping into her local salon, having her regular stylist say, "We have a new employee here that has no clue about cutting hair, but s/he's gotta learn somewhere. Do you mind if he/she has a whack at your head?"
They have fake heads with fake hair they practice on, before handling customers. How do you think the schools do it?
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  #21  
Old 12-28-2010, 02:34 PM
Romanized Romanized is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by sapeye View Post
Interesting idea about people learning to be hair dressers on the job. I'm trying to imagine Katherine dropping into her local salon, having her regular stylist say, "We have a new employee here that has no clue about cutting hair, but s/he's gotta learn somewhere. Do you mind if he/she has a whack at your head?"
Are you serious? You never met a person that could do hair without going to some beauty college that normally charges $10000 or more a year. Most folks know how to cut hair beforehand, they just need the piece of paper to work in a legit salon. My aunt did hair as a child and for decades in her basement. Maybe you should just get out more.
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  #22  
Old 12-23-2010, 11:20 AM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

David Halperin is absolutely right about equality of opportunity. And yet if he really believed that, I would think he'd be lobbying for a standardized test to get a degree in whatever. Any self directed efforts at "cost containment" are ridiculous.

Self motivated, but poor individuals should be able to study at home. If we're interested in meritocracy, I think the government could start creating equalizers in this vein.
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  #23  
Old 12-23-2010, 02:40 PM
ohreally ohreally is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/331...6:12&out=16:21

"Why don't we outsource these decisions to banks..."

Yes, why not? That worked out great with the $8 trillion housing bubble.

And when you google "Bank of America," here's what you get: "Bank of America steals ashes of dead husband and ransacks house after foreclosure"

So yes I think they can take care of our educational needs. Good call, Mangu-Ward.
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  #24  
Old 12-24-2010, 08:55 PM
eeeeeeeli eeeeeeeli is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by ohreally View Post
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/331...6:12&out=16:21

"Why don't we outsource these decisions to banks..."

Yes, why not? That worked out great with the $8 trillion housing bubble.

And when you google "Bank of America," here's what you get: "Bank of America steals ashes of dead husband and ransacks house after foreclosure"

So yes I think they can take care of our educational needs. Good call, Mangu-Ward.
My life would be completely different without government loans. I've had nearly $40k for about 10 years now, as I'm just finally making enough money to start paying it down. What got me through years of career troubles, family emergencies, etc. was exactly what Halperin said: the government (we the people, society) believed in me.

Through deferments, I only ever had to pay what I could afford. I know people who got private loans and it was horrible. Banks, as businesses, only care about the bottom line. That's fine if we're not talking about people's lives. I now support a wife and two kids on my salary - which ironically, I get in part by trying to convince young screw-ups the importance of success in life.

Utopian fantasists like Mangu-Ward have such an easy time making things abstract, and ignoring the real people out in the world whose lives depend on the theories they spout. I went to city college and then state for 10 years, and met a hell of a lot of people who she would prefer to see cast to the curb because their education is too "complicated" for the government to attend to, or because they might - heaven forbid be pushing up tuition costs. My guess is she never met many of those people at Yale.

Yes - it's so much nicer when people stay in their place.
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  #25  
Old 12-25-2010, 05:15 PM
ohreally ohreally is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Utopian fantasists like Mangu-Ward have such an easy time making things abstract, and ignoring the real people out in the world whose lives depend on the theories they spout.
Indeed, they never have to pay for the consequences of their fantasies, and when presented with facts they behave like Marxist-Leninists who always insist that the only problems with the theory is that it's not applied with enough vigor and purity. So if Bank of America behaves like scums of the earth it' s only because they suffer from too much government regulation.

My animus toward the intellectual lightweights at Reason and Cato is that their claptrap pushes the Overton window. So that now it's widely accepted that government is, by default, bad, and the only point open to negotiation is how government should be "tolerated."

Libertarianism is the ideology of the privileged, who get paid to hide selfishness behind a mask of virtue.
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  #26  
Old 12-25-2010, 07:03 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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...

Libertarianism is the ideology of the privileged, who get paid to hide selfishness behind a mask of virtue.
Yeah.
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  #27  
Old 12-26-2010, 09:41 PM
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli View Post
Yes - it's so much nicer when people stay in their place.
"..and shut up and pay up so people like me can go to school for free."
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  #28  
Old 12-27-2010, 12:59 AM
eeeeeeeli eeeeeeeli is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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"..and shut up and pay up so people like me can go to school for free."
I'll ignore the absurdity that anyone is "going to school for free", and go out on a limb here: you're saying the moochers are weaseling the rich out of their money by getting federal and state college subsidies?

Heck with it, I'll get right to the point. People are largely social determined. This is so overwhelmingly born out in the research it's not disputable (although, be my guest).

So, social structures are thus leveraged by the advantaged. The fact that there are large demographic trends in college admissions makes this a pretty obvious point. If this is true, then who has actually received the subsidy, the poor kid from a crappy neighborhood or the rich kid who's daddy and mommy both graduated from college?

You can argue this sort of "redistribution" is inefficient (as Mangu-Ward does). But that applies just as well to every "common good" service, aka that which is for the good of the society at large. Schools, parks, military, roads, libraries, etc. are more efficient in every way except one: doing it for the public good. Democracy requires legislation, accountability, etc. Not to mention provision of service with the express belief in the right of citizens to some level of access.

So, public libraries have to spend more to clean up after the homeless people you allow in. Police have to answer every 911 call. Schools have to provide special services to the disabled. And they have to do it all in conditions of incredible revenue uncertainty. This can severely hamper asset allocation. Much of the time government is spent in a mad scramble after a fickle public.

These sort of inefficiencies might be too high a price to pay for some. But they should at least acknowledge behind the sacrifice. We all have values and we seek to align our government along side them. I happen to think that the mentally ill have gotten a raw deal in life and ought to receive the very best treatment society can pay for - at least while there are still luxury goods being consumed. That's my America.

A better, more "values-neutral" position might be on an alien invasion (I imagine the prospects of being enslaved by a bloodthirsty alien race seeking to harvest our organs would be pretty universally uncomfortable). So would we not want every last available resource martialed toward defending against the invaders? Of course we would. Gucci bags in wartime are most conspicuous.

OK, well maybe aliens are a stretch - but we only have to go back to WWII to see what a nation is willing to sacrifice when they feel the cause is worth it. In that case, the only alternative was certain Nazi subjugation. I can guarantee you that anyone foolish enough to raise a fuss about "big government" and insisting the war be fought by private armies because of their efficiency would be given a swift kick in the arse.

Maybe I need to get very specific here: being enslaved by the Nazis is about as anti-freedom as you can get. Especially if you're Jewish, right? Death isn't very liberating. And neither is totalitarianism or torture. The point is that these experiences were so frightening that we were willing to sacrifice just about anything to avoid them happening to us.

How different then is growing up in poverty, or sleeping under a bridge because of the voices in your head? Or how about being a single mom who can't afford childcare for her kids? Or needing health insurance but not being able to afford it - or denied it because of a pre-existing condition? Or being old and not having money to pay the heating bill? Or even just not being able to go to college and better yourself because there is no practical way to do so without government help. I've worked plenty of minimum wage jobs and they felt nothing if not oppressive. There is always the trades, but even then, being forced into a lot in life that you were forced into choosing seems the antithesis of freedom at best.

Yet when the liberal response to these social problems is government intervention, the specter of "big government" is raised. The basic premise being disagreed with is the specific quality of each form of suffering. Nazis = bad, lots of death and rape = government intervention OK. But poverty, food stamps, drug addiction = not really so bad, maybe they deserve it = government intervention not OK.

I think what is most troubling for liberals is that we see these problems as just being very sad and we feel a moral compulsion to respond in a way that no one should have to experience them, even if it requires paying for an expensive and possibly inefficient infrastructure. The moral case is just that strong.

There are certainly philosophical principles that lead us here. We don't believe, for instance that these people truly chose their fate, as many (all?) on the right do. Neither do we feel that everyone should be given everything for free; it is hard to find a liberal these days that doesn't believe in a strong market system in which much of life is indeed ruled by the market.

But what liberalism is definitely not is a solution in search of a problem: that we aren't really concerned with social problems and just want more government for the fun of it - or to waste the money of the rich! This would be akin to claiming the right wants to spend money on the military and war just for the fun of it. Actually, one might say there is something sort of fetishistic about guns on the right. Maybe one day the left will get food stamp Barbie. I'm reminded now of the game Monopoly being so fun as a celebration of pure greed and competition. Games involving empathy, humility and sharing - values glorified on the left - are few and far between. (Ironically, Monopoly itself was popularized by Quakers and based on The Landlord's Game, a board game designed to show how rents "enriched property owners and impoverished tenants".)

And so, I suppose we've come full-circle - back to who owns what, and where we come from. The evidence for distinct structural mechanisms for class-determinism in America is really unassailable. Although many will continue to try. The reason for this is clear: to acknowledge it would generate a considerable amount of cognitive dissonance within the right-wing mind. If people are not freely choosing their lot in life, then a moral wrong is occurring. In the end, it is all about liberty.
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  #29  
Old 12-27-2010, 06:11 PM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli View Post
I'll ignore the absurdity that anyone is "going to school for free", and go out on a limb here: you're saying the moochers are weaseling the rich out of their money by getting federal and state college subsidies?

Heck with it, I'll get right to the point. People are largely social determined. This is so overwhelmingly born out in the research it's not disputable (although, be my guest).

So, social structures are thus leveraged by the advantaged. The fact that there are large demographic trends in college admissions makes this a pretty obvious point. If this is true, then who has actually received the subsidy, the poor kid from a crappy neighborhood or the rich kid who's daddy and mommy both graduated from college?

You can argue this sort of "redistribution" is inefficient (as Mangu-Ward does). But that applies just as well to every "common good" service, aka that which is for the good of the society at large. Schools, parks, military, roads, libraries, etc. are more efficient in every way except one: doing it for the public good. Democracy requires legislation, accountability, etc. Not to mention provision of service with the express belief in the right of citizens to some level of access.

So, public libraries have to spend more to clean up after the homeless people you allow in. Police have to answer every 911 call. Schools have to provide special services to the disabled. And they have to do it all in conditions of incredible revenue uncertainty. This can severely hamper asset allocation. Much of the time government is spent in a mad scramble after a fickle public.

These sort of inefficiencies might be too high a price to pay for some. But they should at least acknowledge behind the sacrifice. We all have values and we seek to align our government along side them. I happen to think that the mentally ill have gotten a raw deal in life and ought to receive the very best treatment society can pay for - at least while there are still luxury goods being consumed. That's my America.

A better, more "values-neutral" position might be on an alien invasion (I imagine the prospects of being enslaved by a bloodthirsty alien race seeking to harvest our organs would be pretty universally uncomfortable). So would we not want every last available resource martialed toward defending against the invaders? Of course we would. Gucci bags in wartime are most conspicuous.

OK, well maybe aliens are a stretch - but we only have to go back to WWII to see what a nation is willing to sacrifice when they feel the cause is worth it. In that case, the only alternative was certain Nazi subjugation. I can guarantee you that anyone foolish enough to raise a fuss about "big government" and insisting the war be fought by private armies because of their efficiency would be given a swift kick in the arse.

Maybe I need to get very specific here: being enslaved by the Nazis is about as anti-freedom as you can get. Especially if you're Jewish, right? Death isn't very liberating. And neither is totalitarianism or torture. The point is that these experiences were so frightening that we were willing to sacrifice just about anything to avoid them happening to us.

How different then is growing up in poverty, or sleeping under a bridge because of the voices in your head? Or how about being a single mom who can't afford childcare for her kids? Or needing health insurance but not being able to afford it - or denied it because of a pre-existing condition? Or being old and not having money to pay the heating bill? Or even just not being able to go to college and better yourself because there is no practical way to do so without government help. I've worked plenty of minimum wage jobs and they felt nothing if not oppressive. There is always the trades, but even then, being forced into a lot in life that you were forced into choosing seems the antithesis of freedom at best.

Yet when the liberal response to these social problems is government intervention, the specter of "big government" is raised. The basic premise being disagreed with is the specific quality of each form of suffering. Nazis = bad, lots of death and rape = government intervention OK. But poverty, food stamps, drug addiction = not really so bad, maybe they deserve it = government intervention not OK.

I think what is most troubling for liberals is that we see these problems as just being very sad and we feel a moral compulsion to respond in a way that no one should have to experience them, even if it requires paying for an expensive and possibly inefficient infrastructure. The moral case is just that strong.

There are certainly philosophical principles that lead us here. We don't believe, for instance that these people truly chose their fate, as many (all?) on the right do. Neither do we feel that everyone should be given everything for free; it is hard to find a liberal these days that doesn't believe in a strong market system in which much of life is indeed ruled by the market.

But what liberalism is definitely not is a solution in search of a problem: that we aren't really concerned with social problems and just want more government for the fun of it - or to waste the money of the rich! This would be akin to claiming the right wants to spend money on the military and war just for the fun of it. Actually, one might say there is something sort of fetishistic about guns on the right. Maybe one day the left will get food stamp Barbie. I'm reminded now of the game Monopoly being so fun as a celebration of pure greed and competition. Games involving empathy, humility and sharing - values glorified on the left - are few and far between. (Ironically, Monopoly itself was popularized by Quakers and based on The Landlord's Game, a board game designed to show how rents "enriched property owners and impoverished tenants".)

And so, I suppose we've come full-circle - back to who owns what, and where we come from. The evidence for distinct structural mechanisms for class-determinism in America is really unassailable. Although many will continue to try. The reason for this is clear: to acknowledge it would generate a considerable amount of cognitive dissonance within the right-wing mind. If people are not freely choosing their lot in life, then a moral wrong is occurring. In the end, it is all about liberty.
Is this some old rant of yours that you dug out of your blog archives?

My point is simple: people who are not into studying are being subsidized to go to college, when they get there they skip classes and bring the general level of education down, when they graduate they reduce the value of a diploma, forcing some to go even further into higher education to try and distinguish themselves. You can be sure that the needy and disadvantaged are not being helped by any of this.

By the way, your post could be applied word for word to anything the govt decides to do. Here's an experiment, I'll come up with something the govt should do and then you reread your own post with this new goal in mind. Ready? How 'bout: Govt should provide and help put up Xmas lights on poor people's houses (nobody should be denied a bit of Xmas cheer). Ok go ahead now, bring up the Nazis and all the rest.....
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:57 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Is this some old rant of yours that you dug out of your blog archives?

My point is simple: people who are not into studying are being subsidized to go to college, when they get there they skip classes and bring the general level of education down, when they graduate they reduce the value of a diploma, forcing some to go even further into higher education to try and distinguish themselves. You can be sure that the needy and disadvantaged are not being helped by any of this.

By the way, your post could be applied word for word to anything the govt decides to do. Here's an experiment, I'll come up with something the govt should do and then you reread your own post with this new goal in mind. Ready? How 'bout: Govt should provide and help put up Xmas lights on poor people's houses (nobody should be denied a bit of Xmas cheer). Ok go ahead now, bring up the Nazis and all the rest.....
It was a cogent and completely on-point post that expressed a particular point of view (that I happen to agree with [and Unit obviously does not]) very well indeed. Sneering doesn't work when it's obvious that the object of the sneer doesn't deserve it. Coming from someone who so often claims a lofty, above-it-all perch from where he projects his own arguments, this was especially galling.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:14 PM
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It was a cogent and completely on-point post that expressed a particular point of view (that I happen to agree with [and Unit obviously does not]) very well indeed. Sneering doesn't work when it's obvious that the object of the sneer doesn't deserve it. Coming from someone who so often claims a lofty, above-it-all perch from where he projects his own arguments, this was especially galling.
I, at least, try to compress my arguments in as few paragraphs as possible (and I try to avoid the Nazis, if possible).
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:50 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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I, at least, try to compress my arguments in as few paragraphs as possible (and I try to avoid the Nazis, if possible).
I wouldn't call that reference a Godwin violation; and at the risk of repeating myself, it was on point.

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but if you can express yourself well at length (and a dozen or so short grafs is hardly extraordinary loquacity) then I don't see a problem.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:29 PM
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It was a cogent and completely on-point post that expressed a particular point of view (that I happen to agree with [and Unit obviously does not]) very well indeed. Sneering doesn't work when it's obvious that the object of the sneer doesn't deserve it. Coming from someone who so often claims a lofty, above-it-all perch from where he projects his own arguments, this was especially galling.
I beg to differ. Unit was pretty much on-target here.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:48 PM
eeeeeeeli eeeeeeeli is offline
 
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Is this some old rant of yours that you dug out of your blog archives?

My point is simple: people who are not into studying are being subsidized to go to college, when they get there they skip classes and bring the general level of education down, when they graduate they reduce the value of a diploma, forcing some to go even further into higher education to try and distinguish themselves. You can be sure that the needy and disadvantaged are not being helped by any of this.

By the way, your post could be applied word for word to anything the govt decides to do. Here's an experiment, I'll come up with something the govt should do and then you reread your own post with this new goal in mind. Ready? How 'bout: Govt should provide and help put up Xmas lights on poor people's houses (nobody should be denied a bit of Xmas cheer). Ok go ahead now, bring up the Nazis and all the rest.....
I apologize if you felt overwhelmed by the length of my post.... I have a habit of developing theses from comments here and elsewhere - so yes, I was kind of taking the ball and running with it. So, to the extent that wasn't being direct I apologize. In my defense though, it was a response to your post and I'm grateful to you for the opportunity to "flesh out" more of my thinking.
(Also: mind you the Nazis were in no way ad hominem towards the right. My logic was simply to create a clear and real problem that everyone could agree was worth fighting.)

So, on Christmas lights: I tried to deal with that 3rd paragraph from the end:
"There are certainly philosophical principles that lead us here. We don't believe, for instance that these people truly chose their fate, as many (all?) on the right do. Neither do we feel that everyone should be given everything for free; it is hard to find a liberal these days that doesn't believe in a strong market system in which much of life is indeed ruled by the market. "

You've overstated things twice now and it's a bad habit, so shame on you. I think you could have put a finer point on your case for these subsidies inefficiently promoting bad behavior. I'm not trying to write your posts for you, just pointing out that to the degree that your overgeneralizations are untrue, the words you are typing become (by definition) untrue. By granting you the benefit of the doubt, one can make a good-faith effort to understand your deeper meaning, but it is somewhat tedious. And all this while fighting past the odiousness of the original falsehood promoted.

So, your assertion that these government subsidies are being wasted on poor behavior seems a wild claim. What would better numbers really look like? I for instance haven't wasted a bit of my subsidy. But I'm one in what - million? I'd like to see a better developed argument based on good data not fancy. Seems the real question would be to look at GPAs of FAFSA recipients. What percentage is pulling a C average?

Drilling down a bit is going to get really messy, though. What kind of pressures are these students under? Back to my previous post... if we acknowledge a structural inequity in need of remediation, what percentage of inefficiency are we willing to put up with? What portion of misuse of loans by students are we willing to put up with. I think 80% is probably way too much. 60%? 40%? Completely fair question.

But I get the feeling the question is existential, in that no amount of government is acceptable. And I find this attitude especially galling as it is unserious. Libertarians tend to get away with it because they are used to their utopian fantasies being indulged. But the rest of us in the real world have to actually create realistic policy and live with the repercussions. You simply can't discuss reality with people who are opposed to living in it.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:30 PM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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I apologize if you felt overwhelmed by the length of my post.... I have a habit of developing theses from comments here and elsewhere - so yes, I was kind of taking the ball and running with it. So, to the extent that wasn't being direct I apologize. In my defense though, it was a response to your post and I'm grateful to you for the opportunity to "flesh out" more of my thinking.
(Also: mind you the Nazis were in no way ad hominem towards the right. My logic was simply to create a clear and real problem that everyone could agree was worth fighting.)

So, on Christmas lights: I tried to deal with that 3rd paragraph from the end:
"There are certainly philosophical principles that lead us here. We don't believe, for instance that these people truly chose their fate, as many (all?) on the right do. Neither do we feel that everyone should be given everything for free; it is hard to find a liberal these days that doesn't believe in a strong market system in which much of life is indeed ruled by the market. "

You've overstated things twice now and it's a bad habit, so shame on you. I think you could have put a finer point on your case for these subsidies inefficiently promoting bad behavior. I'm not trying to write your posts for you, just pointing out that to the degree that your overgeneralizations are untrue, the words you are typing become (by definition) untrue. By granting you the benefit of the doubt, one can make a good-faith effort to understand your deeper meaning, but it is somewhat tedious. And all this while fighting past the odiousness of the original falsehood promoted.

So, your assertion that these government subsidies are being wasted on poor behavior seems a wild claim. What would better numbers really look like? I for instance haven't wasted a bit of my subsidy. But I'm one in what - million? I'd like to see a better developed argument based on good data not fancy. Seems the real question would be to look at GPAs of FAFSA recipients. What percentage is pulling a C average?

Drilling down a bit is going to get really messy, though. What kind of pressures are these students under? Back to my previous post... if we acknowledge a structural inequity in need of remediation, what percentage of inefficiency are we willing to put up with? What portion of misuse of loans by students are we willing to put up with. I think 80% is probably way too much. 60%? 40%? Completely fair question.

But I get the feeling the question is existential, in that no amount of government is acceptable. And I find this attitude especially galling as it is unserious. Libertarians tend to get away with it because they are used to their utopian fantasies being indulged. But the rest of us in the real world have to actually create realistic policy and live with the repercussions. You simply can't discuss reality with people who are opposed to living in it.
Another 6 paragraphs...I have a hard time arguing with such word productivity. So I'll just add a few random comments.

1. You seem to spend a lot of breath on making sure we identify you as on the "left", whatever that means, to the point that maybe that's your real goal here. OTOH you have to be careful when you self-nominate yourself as spokesperson for such a large and amorphous entity. Since we're on the topic, you've also assumed that I'm "on the right" and "libertarian" without even asking. I think this also shows that you're more interested in the formal debate than in the particular issue. Full disclosure: I'm a No Political Labels kind of guy.

2. How can you say that a subsidy is not free money? I'm puzzled by what you're objecting here. Subsidizing education means giving people free education. If you want to talk about something else be my guest. But that's the topic we're discussing here.

3. Let's even assume your premise "structural inequality in need of remediation", where did you address my concern that the tools for remediation (subsidized education) we're discussing, actually create new inequality (people striving for post-graduate degrees), a devalued BA etc..? Just because you identify a problem it doesn't mean that there's a "remediation" and it's even more unlikely that there is a "centrally planned remediation" that comes down from the govt. With that I don't mean to imply that there's nothing the govt can do, just that maybe it should be more subtle, i.e. review some its laws and regulations on the hiring process.

4. Data. There's data everywhere, the question is how you interpret it, and that's not an easy task. I have data that confirms my point of view, I'm sure you have data that confirms yours. One piece of data that I find compelling is the recent study on the amount of "slacking" going on right now as opposed to a few years back, and this conforms with the idea that we've artificially induced people to go to school that would have rather have done something else.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:12 PM
eeeeeeeli eeeeeeeli is offline
 
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Another 6 paragraphs...I have a hard time arguing with such word productivity.
OK, fair enough!
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So I'll just add a few random comments.

1. You seem to spend a lot of breath on making sure we identify you as on the "left", whatever that means, to the point that maybe that's your real goal here. OTOH you have to be careful when you self-nominate yourself as spokesperson for such a large and amorphous entity. Since we're on the topic, you've also assumed that I'm "on the right" and "libertarian" without even asking. I think this also shows that you're more interested in the formal debate than in the particular issue. Full disclosure: I'm a No Political Labels kind of guy.
I guess it's because I don't think it matters what you call yourself. You espouse libertarian ideas, you get a critique of libertarianism in response. Was there anything I said that would not have applied directly to what you were arguing?

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2. How can you say that a subsidy is not free money? I'm puzzled by what you're objecting here. Subsidizing education means giving people free education. If you want to talk about something else be my guest. But that's the topic we're discussing here.
This is silly. Do we really need to debate the difference between "a free education" and subsidies that help pay for education? When my government loan is deferred it is in a sense being subsidized. But interest still accrues. I feel like I'm bending over backwards for you here!

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3. Let's even assume your premise "structural inequality in need of remediation", where did you address my concern that the tools for remediation (subsidized education) we're discussing, actually create new inequality (people striving for post-graduate degrees), a devalued BA etc..? Just because you identify a problem it doesn't mean that there's a "remediation" and it's even more unlikely that there is a "centrally planned remediation" that comes down from the govt. With that I don't mean to imply that there's nothing the govt can do, just that maybe it should be more subtle, i.e. review some its laws and regulations on the hiring process.
I questioned the degree to which this is going on, versus the intended goal of helping people who want to and deserve to go to college? If we're still assuming the structural inequality exists, what you're arguing is that it acts as a nice mechanism for inflating the value of degrees, etc. Oh boy, my degree was so affordable and valuable because poor people were kept out of the system! So again, what is the ratio of the truly deserving to the undeserving (class skippers)?

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4. Data. There's data everywhere, the question is how you interpret it, and that's not an easy task. I have data that confirms my point of view, I'm sure you have data that confirms yours. One piece of data that I find compelling is the recent study on the amount of "slacking" going on right now as opposed to a few years back, and this conforms with the idea that we've artificially induced people to go to school that would have rather have done something else.
I have no data, but I'm not making the claim. When I was in school the classes seemed quite full. I will grant you that there are a lot of people going to college that lack proper skills. But it's more complicated than that. Structural inequality makes life hard for these individuals and a bit of support seems reasonable. If what we're getting at graduation is a competent individual, then what's the problem? I'll also argue that having credentialed people who represent the underclass is an enormously important goal in and of itself.

(sorry for the paragraph, but if you're not interested than don't read it!)I'll give you an example: my wife taught an intro English class at a state college. A few students in her class were part of a special cohort that was pulled from poor high schools and given extra support. When asked to write about life experiences, their papers were rich with introspection and wisdom, while most other papers were by comparison dull and lacking in perspective. If those students make it to graduation, they offer something very valuable to society.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:45 PM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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I guess it's because I don't think it matters what you call yourself. You espouse libertarian ideas, you get a critique of libertarianism in response. Was there anything I said that would not have applied directly to what you were arguing?
Libertarianism is a deductive theory that assumes some basic axioms such as the principle of non-aggression, property rights etc...I'm just arguing about non-intended consequences of subsidies for college, that's all.

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This is silly. Do we really need to debate the difference between "a free education" and subsidies that help pay for education? When my government loan is deferred it is in a sense being subsidized. But interest still accrues. I feel like I'm bending over backwards for you here!
You insist on a literal reading but what I'm saying is pretty simple: you consume X amount of education and a fraction p is free, so you're getting education for free. I'm bending backwards two times and knotting myself into a Mobius strip here for you!

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I questioned the degree to which this is going on, versus the intended goal of helping people who want to and deserve to go to college? If we're still assuming the structural inequality exists, what you're arguing is that it acts as a nice mechanism for inflating the value of degrees, etc. Oh boy, my degree was so affordable and valuable because poor people were kept out of the system! So again, what is the ratio of the truly deserving to the undeserving (class skippers)?
First of all I don't know what is meant by deserving and undeserving. My best friend from childhood went to a trade school and started working at 14, I got my PhD 12 years later, during those 12 years my friends education continued and increased, on the job, and he was being paid quite well too. Of course, his job was hard and repetitive in many ways, but in what sense did he "deserve" to spend 10 idle years in college?



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I have no data, but I'm not making the claim. When I was in school the classes seemed quite full. I will grant you that there are a lot of people going to college that lack proper skills. But it's more complicated than that. Structural inequality makes life hard for these individuals and a bit of support seems reasonable. If what we're getting at graduation is a competent individual, then what's the problem? I'll also argue that having credentialed people who represent the underclass is an enormously important goal in and of itself.
You're assuming that a college education makes people competent vs. learning on the job and getting work experience. I tend to view college as an expensive signal. The solution then is not to pay poor people to acquire expensive signals, rather it would be to allow employers more freedom during the hiring process, freedom to experiment, freedom to write individual deals with individual workers.

Quote:
(sorry for the paragraph, but if you're not interested than don't read it!)I'll give you an example: my wife taught an intro English class at a state college. A few students in her class were part of a special cohort that was pulled from poor high schools and given extra support. When asked to write about life experiences, their papers were rich with introspection and wisdom, while most other papers were by comparison dull and lacking in perspective. If those students make it to graduation, they offer something very valuable to society.
My point is that they already offer something very valuable and the reasons they face barriers to entry are more simple: minimum wage laws, labor laws, anti-discrimination laws etc....

Let me put it this way: what would happen if you subsidized people to go to graduate school and ended up doubling PhD production, would all these new PhDs get prestigious academic jobs? I bet you'd get a few working at McDonalds, but you don't need a PhD to work at McDonalds
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:38 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Maybe I need to get very specific here: being enslaved by the Nazis is about as anti-freedom as you can get. Especially if you're Jewish, right? Death isn't very liberating. And neither is totalitarianism or torture. The point is that these experiences were so frightening that we were willing to sacrifice just about anything to avoid them happening to us.

... I've worked plenty of minimum wage jobs and they felt nothing if not oppressive. There is always the trades, but even then, being forced into a lot in life that you were forced into choosing seems the antithesis of freedom at best.
You seem like such an earnest person and I really try to read what you've written but sometimes I just can't get past something...like what you've written above.

First you talk about the lack of freedom embodied by the Nazi movement and then you end with likening being forced into the trades to that same lack of freedom.

Surely you jest.

I know you have a heart for the downtrodden but it would seem that in the very recent past people who were members of the underclass were very happy to have snagged one of those 'trade jobs' you sneer at.

A little perspective would be good as you lecture us about the nature of the poor.

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I think what is most troubling for liberals is that we see these problems as just being very sad and we feel a moral compulsion to respond in a way that no one should have to experience them, even if it requires paying for an expensive and possibly inefficient infrastructure. The moral case is just that strong.
and what is most troubling for conservatives is the absolute certainlty of the those on the left that whatever they think will help will, in fact, help...just cause a really nice and troubled liberal with a moral compulsion thought of it.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:08 AM
eeeeeeeli eeeeeeeli is offline
 
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You seem like such an earnest person and I really try to read what you've written but sometimes I just can't get past something...like what you've written above.

First you talk about the lack of freedom embodied by the Nazi movement and then you end with likening being forced into the trades to that same lack of freedom.

Surely you jest.

I know you have a heart for the downtrodden but it would seem that in the very recent past people who were members of the underclass were very happy to have snagged one of those 'trade jobs' you sneer at.

A little perspective would be good as you lecture us about the nature of the poor.
Slow down there. I have a tendency to get overzealous in my analogies and am unclear with my point. I began with Nazism as a clear problem we could all oppose. I don't mean to say that every problem is Nazism. I'm merely making a somewhat obvious point that problems worth attacking ought to be attacked.

So on poverty, I actually think that in many ways it is comparable to totalitarian fascism. When was the last time you were in the 'hood? It's terrible, right? The scariest part is the sort of cult-like mind-set that takes over. I'm going way wide-angle here, but from my perspective we are all responsible for having created the American ghettos (this gets deep into contra-causal free will and the question of determinism and that's a rabbit hole - but I think it's actually central to all this stuff). As such, we are all responsible for having created these little microcosms that are violent, self-destructive, undemocratic, etc. So yeah, in that sense I rank poverty way up there with some of the greatest threats ever facing out nation. In terms of pure numbers, the amount of suffering and lack of liberty (again, see: previous point on psychology), it's a huge problem.



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and what is most troubling for conservatives is the absolute certainlty of the those on the left that whatever they think will help will, in fact, help...just cause a really nice and troubled liberal with a moral compulsion thought of it.
Oh, you could say the same thing about conservatives! They think government won't work just because it's well, government. Can we just agree that both frames of thought are idiotic? Liberals left communism long ago. We aren't the ones holding fast to a one-size fits all ideology.

So can we do anything? That deserves an lol. Of course not all poverty programs work. Some are better than others. But there are amazing success stories. But you know, I feel like this is an old dodge by those on the right who want to shirk their responsibility because some programs - somewhere - isn't operating at 100% efficiency.

It's just too easy to say that. If only more people on the right were working toward programs that work instead of arguing existentially against government, we'd be much better off. Wouldn't specific, serious critiques alongside policy alternatives be a thousand times more interesting and useful?

edit: I forgot to address the trades comment: I certainly didn't mean to sneer. My goal is simply for people to have options. The reality is that college is often out-of-reach when many of the trades are not. Bottom-line is I think structural advantages are unamerican. I believe in trying to at least strive for a meriticracy, even if we never get there. The point of America for me is that we never stop trying.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:03 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)

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Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli View Post
So on poverty, I actually think that in many ways it is comparable to totalitarian fascism. When was the last time you were in the 'hood? It's terrible, right? The scariest part is the sort of cult-like mind-set that takes over. I'm going way wide-angle here, but from my perspective we are all responsible for having created the American ghettos (this gets deep into contra-causal free will and the question of determinism and that's a rabbit hole - but I think it's actually central to all this stuff). As such, we are all responsible for having created these little microcosms that are violent, self-destructive, undemocratic, etc. So yeah, in that sense I rank poverty way up there with some of the greatest threats ever facing out nation. In terms of pure numbers, the amount of suffering and lack of liberty (again, see: previous point on psychology), it's a huge problem.
I don't think we are all responsible for having created American ghettos nor do I think they will ever be eliminated. But I will submit that the people who inhabit them are an ever changing group and many are able to leave them, never to return. That's a result of the glory of the human spirit. Your idea about poverty as immutable doesn't ring true and if you are going to blame causality, then certainly nothing is to blame except life itself.

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Oh, you could say the same thing about conservatives! They think government won't work just because it's well, government. Can we just agree that both frames of thought are idiotic? Liberals left communism long ago. We aren't the ones holding fast to a one-size fits all ideology.
The reason people question what government should/can do is not because it's government but because it's humans posing as people with answers to problems they have no idea how to solve.


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So can we do anything? That deserves an lol. Of course not all poverty programs work. Some are better than others. But there are amazing success stories. But you know, I feel like this is an old dodge by those on the right who want to shirk their responsibility because some programs - somewhere - isn't operating at 100% efficiency.
So much redundancy, so many good intentions with so many unintended consequences. The people who benefit the most from these programs are the people who work for them. And you continue to insist that people have responsiblity. Some people either don't agree, don't care or don't feel that the government is the best way to address poverty .

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It's just too easy to say that. If only more people on the right were working toward programs that work instead of arguing existentially against government, we'd be much better off. Wouldn't specific, serious critiques alongside policy alternatives be a thousand times more interesting and useful?
I think there are people on the right who will be working towards programs that will work in the new Congress. Of course everything they will try to do will be characterized as evil.

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edit: I forgot to address the trades comment: I certainly didn't mean to sneer. My goal is simply for people to have options. The reality is that college is often out-of-reach when many of the trades are not. Bottom-line is I think structural advantages are unamerican. I believe in trying to at least strive for a meriticracy, even if we never get there. The point of America for me is that we never stop trying

I think a good, honest trade is far superior to a crazy degree in something undefined like say...communications. And from what you have written above I don't think you have any idea about what the availability of landing a trade is.

We will never eliminate structural advantage. That does not mean that anyone is condemned to poverty or that America doesn't offer tremendous opportunity to almost everyone.
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