Early Morning Random Thoughts

This City Journal article is an excellent explanation of how statistics can be ‘massaged’ beyond all recognition.

Just one example:

“But is the Gallup–Lumina survey reliable? We have reason to doubt it, and not only because the nonrandom, web-based sampling employed by the report invites various biases and distortions. Tucked into the survey is the thesis-destroying acknowledgment that “many students do not enjoy the luxury of attending college in any state they choose.” The force of this caveat is only deepened by the fine-print revelation that respondents were between the ages of 18 and 59—not, as one might have expected, 18 and 22. The significance of this disclosure should be obvious. A 20-year-old may flit from state to state on the winds of politics. A collegian in his sixth decade probably can’t, however satisfying it is to tell a pollster otherwise.”

(I bolded the quote, as I’ve never been able to get WordPress to handle indentations and such properly. I have too little time for non-essentials right now – my brother-in-law is hospitalized with major medical issues – so I’m taking that half-a$$ed way of handling the formatting.)

I’m with City Journal on this one – let the Woke and Stupid go somewhere else. The higher education system will survive. Those that remain will likely be more focused on actual education, not ‘activism’, and the actual adults in colleges are relatively stuck in place, as the piece mentions. Only the younger students will leave; good riddance.

As for this American Greatness post on college loans – full disclosure, I was a recipient of student grants (state and federal), scholarships, and loans. But, the practice of making government responsible for the immature choices of the 25 and under voters is not working, in its present format.

I actually like the idea floated here:

“Donald Trump should steal a march on Biden: he should propose forgiving all student loans for people making less than, say, $40,000 a year (if you don’t like that amount, pick another) and—this is the important part—cancel all support for higher education in order to pay for the loan cancellation. Cancelling federal aid to higher education would save billions!”

I’d prefer to limit the forgiveness to:

  • Those that were suckered into loans that were NOT prepared for work at a college level. Those who were affirmatively placed in programs they had no business enrolling in. I do not, generally, blame the students. I blame the colleges – and there should be a 50-50 responsibility for making up the loss. Half the cost should be levied on the colleges/programs that enabled that academic fraud.
  • Those who finished a four year program with a 2.5 or above.
  • Those who spent the money on actual college expenses, not using the money to ‘live the high life’. Before qualifying for forgiveness, students should have to undergo debt counselling and restructuring, and make payments for a predetermined time period before forgiveness. Too often, just allowing part of the debt to be assumed by another – in this case the taxpayers – doesn’t solve the problem, which is that they are idiots with money.
  • Those who signed up for debt before the age of 21. Allowing a legal minor to assume 5-6 figure debt on a signature, without collateral, is idiocy. It’s especially bad public policy.

What about future students?

It’s a STATE responsibility. The federal government should NOT be involved, unless it is to provide money for college for majors/programs for high-need fields related to federal functions. For example:

  • Engineering, physics, chemistry, math – NOT biology. We have sufficient biology majors (most of whom plan to enter the health professions).
  • Special education programs – higher amounts available for those preparing to teach more challenging students – severe disabilities, particularly.
  • Teachers in certain license areas ONLY – math & science. Am I biased (I’m a retired science teacher)? Yes. I’ve seen too many not-qualified teachers in those areas teaching for years on a ‘temporary’ certificate. More programs to move people from para and sub positions to full certification – in certain license areas only. We really don’t need all that many more elementary teachers.

ALL the above are dependent on working in those fields for at least 10 years. Failure to do so triggers repayment of the full debt, with no forgiveness.

One of the biggest barriers to people making use of their degrees (assuming they didn’t major in some quirky or overcrowded field) is the large number of immigrants that are hired preferentially. It’s just about impossible for many tech majors to get a fair shot at a job. So, full stop on work visas, AND deportation – BOTH. At the end of the current work visas, the workers should return. If they have married/started a family that includes American citizens, they can either return alone, and join the queue, or take their family with them (that’s my take on how we should handle family reunification).

Harsh? Yep.

But, don’t blame the fed-up Americans for this state of affairs. Blame all the cheaters, fence-jumpers, and chuckleheads that put on their SAD face and cried for exceptions to perfectly reasonable rules.


    • OneGuy on April 4, 2024 at 10:20 AM

    Don’t forget the most important point about education loans; the government has no business being involved in any way.  Don’t loan them money, don’t pass laws regarding the loaning of money for education and don’t back loans with taxpayer guarantees.  The federal and state government should do nothing at all regarding student loans.  Not for good students, bad students, special needs students, POC students, immigrant students, nothing. 

    • Drumwaster on April 4, 2024 at 10:51 AM

    This whole student loan debacle came about when the Feds decided to guarantee student loans, which doesn’t help the student signing the paperwork, merely the bank and college. At that point, colleges went from “Oh, sorry, did we say $3,000 annual tuition? We meant $5,000. Per semester. And books (gotta get that latest edition, too, otherwise the professor might not be able to keep making payments on their vacation home). And lab fees. And did we say $5,000? We meant $10,000. Plus dorm fees. But gotta get that degree (Doctor of Sub-Saharan African Lesbian Poetry of the 11th Century), otherwise people might not understand you when you ask whether they prefer fries or onion rings with their meal.”
    It continued with degree paths and classes that were utterly ridiculous on their face — a Bachelors in Bakery Science, an Associate’s Degree in Farrier Science (making horseshoes), Bachelors of Arts in ‘Pop Culture’, courses on Lady Gaga, South Park, Harry Potter, Pac-Man, and on and on. Kids who were taught that there are no wrong answers and that their feeling outrank facts see no conflict in making everyone else pay their bills and their Government-Guaranteed right to dictate to those same people how they should live.
    That pendulum is reaching about as far as it can go in that direction. That backlash will be … Biblical.

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