At a recent college job fair, I noticed the jobs being offered
to young people as career choices: Home Depot, department stores, dollar stores, various nursing homes and cleaning services;
and it got me wondering about the kind of vision our politicians have for the next generation of this country. The vision
is coming into focus now. For a peek at the final goal, just look at Brazil, where a handful of families own everything, and
everybody else is poor- and you will see a window on the world of tomorrow- if our leaders get their way. A New World Order
distracted by bread and circuses, where young people are free to be cannon fodder or else pyramid builders and supervisors
of pyramid builders in the New World Order.
The Chinese, turning out twice a many engineers ever year as the United
States, are preparing to dominate the world economy- and not just in jump ropes and textiles- but in high-tech, value added
consumer products. India is now graduating more scientists than the United States, and even Russia is turning out engineers.
Congress' response to this challenge? Last year they cut funding to the National Science Foundation- as well as to every non-defense
related science agency.
In Massachusetts, the myopic blunted vision has found its truest manifestation in the educational
policies of Governor Romney. The Romney response has been in keeping with what he knows best: stripping equity and transferring
wealth. In terms of education, it means dismantling public higher education.
Last month the Massachusetts Senate Task
Force on Public Higher Education, a bipartisan group that includes business and community leaders, released the following
findings about Massachusetts:
-Ranks 49th in the nation in state spending on higher education per $1000 of state income.
-Ranks 47th in the nation in state spending on public higher education per capita.
-Largest decrease in state
funding for public education of any state: a 32.6% reduction, adjusted for inflation, between 2001 and 2004.
only state in the nation that is spending less on public higher education than it was spending ten years ago.
charges consistently among the highest in the country because of insufficient funding.
-Spends more on incarcerating
its citizenry than on educating them in its public colleges and universities.
Is this how we compete? Even for a man
who espouses a conservative philosophy of self-reliance, this makes no sense. What kind of dismantles downsizes education
in such an environment? Money spent on enhancing educational opportunities is "seed money" that comes back to a community
is myriad ways. It builds job skills, and acts as an antidote to the marginalization of youth that has become epidemic in
our society. It contributes to an environment where higher paying jobs can flourish. Higher paying jobs contribute to the
tax base of local communities. Everybody agrees that a nation's prosperity is dependent on its educational system.
funding for higher Ed down so drastically, public higher ed is turning into another "Wal-Mart"- complete with an overdependence
of part-time "temp" workers (A.K.A. adjunct faculty). In a typical community college in Massachusetts, over two-thirds of
all courses are now taught by part-timers, many with no health insurance. Overdependence on part-timers adversely affects
the quality of education because they are contract workers with no ties to the school, and no obligation to serve on committees,
meet with or advise students. School use fees, for example, at some state schools have been raised so much that they are actually
higher than tuition. But in this Orwellian use of language, the governor can be said to have "held the line" on tuition. Actions
like these are not tax cuts,or even holding the line on taxes, but tax deferrals and equity stripping, the consequences of
which are to be passed on to the next governor, and/or absorbed by taxpayers and students- a mess to be cleaned up later by
somebody else while Mitt Romney rises "above" all this towards the fulfillment of his political aspirations in the national
I grew up in Lawrence in a three-decker. When I was a college student, Northern Essex cost 200 bucks a semester;
it was an inexpensive and accessible college education, which is the fundamental mission of a community college- to enable
people to help themselves to build a creative and prosperous life. That mission is as important now as it was 40 years ago.
How many people have $30,000 a year to spend on their children's college education? I have always been profoundly grateful
for the chance that the community college system gave me to develop my skills and intellect. But I ,as well as many colleagues,
am alarmed at the downsizing of public education under the governor. What kind of atrocious policies would he support if he
were to become president?
The governor's blunted and myopic sensibilities have underscored his abiding mediocrity.
A mediocrity which masks itself as talent and innovation only because the alternative offered by the democratic party was
so repugnant: the shrill and abrasive Shannon O'Brien, political insider entrenched in the same senile paradigm of corruption
and cronyism that brought about midnight pay raises, the Big Dig, all typified by the arrogance of William Bulger and company.
Revolution is the kicking in of a rotten door.
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