Niagara Gazette

Columns

August 23, 2013

HAMILTON: Obama, Lewis and Quinn on education

Niagara Gazette — Former Tonawanda Town Supervisor Carl Calabrese nailed it when he pointed out that the beginning of President Obama’s speech started off by attacking the same people (Republicans) with whom he will have to work in order to get his education agenda passed; but by the end of the speech, Calabrese said, “… he (Obama) sounded like a Republican.”

Obama was sounding like a Republican in wanting to alter the way that we subsidize higher education.

Nonetheless, there are good reasons that I like the points that the president made concerning the subsidizing of higher education, if we should do so at all.

In fact, much of what he said might also be an applied template for even local school districts.

The president said that we should award the schools that concentrate on increasing the value that they provide to the student, the students’ parents, and to the taxpayers and society itself. He has my wholehearted support on that one.

A part of his proposed value quotient is funding to the colleges and universities that are actually controlling or decreasing their costs, which makes the cost of higher education more affordable.

The president also supports an old tenet of my own, in that in the reward for progress, we don’t necessarily reward the individual, or institution in this case, that has reached the highest levels; instead, we give fair compensation for those who have helped their student bodies come the furthest in their education.

That is, for colleges that accept students with lower academic attainments than do other colleges, but graduates them on time with parity or superiority, we ought to reward them for their successful efforts at quality instruction and the induced involvement of their students by their creative methods. As the president said, we cannot reward them for how many students that they have in their student body; but, instead, by the number that graduate on time and are indeed educated.

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