President Barack Obama flips, changes and conforms some of his policy stances to whatever wind seems to benefit his sails, but the topic of education may be anchored to his core priorities.
Mitt Romney and Obama’s word-sparring matches are getting old. Almost every day a new headline comes out reading, “Obama claims Romney will take your money and give it to the rich,” and “Romney laughs at Obama and deploys ads using Obama’s voice to show us who the real Obama is.” Sound familiar?
The topic of education recently made the fight. Romney shot at Obama on the topic of Washington’s school voucher system, which sparked the Obama campaign to retaliate with a TV ad attacking Romney on higher education titled “Get Real.”
So who is the better man for the sake of education? That is for you to decide. But Obama’s views and actions toward education, namely higher education, are favorable in my eyes. It’s a rare incident for me to say “favorable” and “Obama” in the same sentence, so eat it up.
Let’s look at how Obama and higher education mix. He invested his time and money into school. After graduating from Columbia University, Obama attended and graduated from the prestigious Harvard Law School. Then he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.
Obama knows the importance of school and what doors it can open. He has made a good living from his profession and has used his school-learned skills to obtain prominent political positions. Anyone who took a similar path can’t deny the importance of higher education.
But let’s be real for bit. You can think higher education is great, but if you can’t provide means to attend college, then knowing how beneficial higher education is will just be a thought.
I am attending college with the goals of obtaining the skills and requirements to qualify for a job. But most importantly, I need to earn the key that unlocks the doors to graduate schools and paying careers: the piece of paper that documents me as a graduate of a four-year university.
My life’s circumstances allow for me to focus my time mainly on school while not focusing on having to balance it with work. For others, this is a daily battle. Some even miss out on higher education altogether since doing so would be financially impossible.
I’m all for allocating more funds to improving our country’s education. I’m all for allocating more funds to help students with financial needs. I’m all for allocating more funds from my pocket to make this happen. Obama’s plans help enable these actions.
As president, he has proposed plans and passed legislation tailored to help financially-challenged students attend and pay for college.
According to the White House’s government website, Obama said, “We will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”
The White House also posted on the website Obama’s Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act that focuses on six financial changes: first, an addition of more than $40 billion for larger Pell Grants; second, an improvement in the budgeting process to create a better funding system for Pell Grants; third, an investment of $2 billion to improve community colleges nationwide; fourth, a creation of $2.55 billion of mandatory funding to support minority-serving institutions; fifth, a change in the Income Based Repayment Program to help students pay off loans faster; and sixth, a reconstruction of the loan system to eliminate wasteful subsidies.
This is a huge amount of money. Doesn’t Obama know how big the country’s debt is? Of course he does, he’s a smart man. His economic vision is questionable, but in order to put more into education there needs to be an allocation of funds from other sectors.
An ABC news article quoted Obama after he signed into law the Student Loan Rate Extension in July.
“For months, I’ve been calling on Congress to take half the money we’re no longer spending on war and use it to do some nation building here at home,” Obama said. “In today’s economy, a higher education is the surest path to finding a good job and earning a good salary and making it into the middle class.”
This plan makes sense. Obama’s economic plans keep failing because they are anchored to unstable and wishful concepts, but his educational principles hold true.
U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, said at the July 2012 meeting of the State Higher Education Executive Officers, “Higher education should not be a luxury for those who can afford it.”
We can express our disgust with Obama’s presidency on multiple issues, but his views on education are praiseworthy. Don’t disagree will all of Obama’s policies just because you don’t like most of them. Take the time to know what your nation’s leaders’ views are, especially with the November elections upon us.