Niagara Gazette

Columns

August 23, 2013

HAMILTON: Obama, Lewis and Quinn on education

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The president rightfully said on student loans that we cannot build an economy by people making money on those education loans, instead, we must build an economy on educated people making money.

Additionally, I agree with Obama saying that parents and students alike must know from where they can find schools that offer value in education. His new index will measure institutions that give the biggest “bang” for the buck, make them known, and make a special effort to better fund them.

But as Calabrese would point out, in the Democrat president’s speech, is his very Republican template of also holding the student accountable for learning and performance, too. The student’s next semester’s payment would be very much contingent upon the current semester’s performance.

Some students learn faster than others do. Their educational cost should and must be lower. A degree ought not be contingent upon time spent, but upon expenditure of energy used in learning. If it only takes you three years, instead of four, then you should get a degree based upon successful effort, and not upon the calendar.

Many years ago, I sat at a table at an event at Canisius College with former Buffalo Congressman Jack Quinn where Atlanta Congressman John Lewis spoke. To the delight of the students there, Lewis pounded upon the podium insisting that, “We got to put more money into education.”

I looked quizzically over to Quinn and whispered, “Jack! Why do we have to put more money into education instead of just bringing down the price of education?”

Quinn shook his head, grimaced and said, “That’s just the way that they [Democrats that sound like Democrats] think.”

In Obama’s case, who started off as a Democrat that thought and sounded as a Democrat – and still may think the same way, does it really take five years at the top in order to actually get it? It makes me wonder if he has finally been taking tips from former President Bill Clinton, who was a master at doing such.

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