Lily’s Blackboard: Dimming the American Dream with Debt

Our young people are caught between the rock and hard place of being told they need a college education, going into debt to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars and then not being able to get a good job because the economy that is being driven by bad policy isn’t recovering quickly enough. Read Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig’s perspective on how this is impacting all of us regardless of which generational demographic to which we may belong.

Cloaking Inequity

I was honored to guest blog about my family’s American experience with rapidly increasing college debt for NEA President Lily Eskelsen García at Lily’s Blackboard. The guest post originally appear here. The NEA has had a recent focus on Degrees Not Debt.

The baby boomers went to college in the 1960s and 1970s at very little cost because their parents’ generation and those before them had made a commitment to publicly funding higher education. However, is that dream dimming because some boomers would rather have tax cuts instead of reasonably priced and high quality public education for the millennials and coming generations of students?

The experience of my family at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor represents the increasing generational debt load. My parents attended Michigan in the early 1970s. Due to low tuition and large state subsidies, they took on very little debt en route to…

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Happy Veteran’s Day

Photo from Shutterstock

Photo from Shutterstock

Today is Veteran’s Day. It is a day when we honor the heroes both past and present who have offered the ultimate sacrifice for love of country.

I grew up in a household where pacifism was promoted by our church. My father was a conscientious objector during World War II as were his brothers and most of the young men in his church community. They all did alternative service of some sort which means they served…they just didn’t take up arms or go into battle.

I believe that being a conscientious objector was a decision that my father struggled with over the course of his life. I heard him at different times wonder out loud if he had made the right decision. Knowing him as the peace loving man that he was, I believe he did make the right decision for him, but at the same time, all of my uncles on my mother’s side of our family served in the armed forces. One was in the Navy, one joined the Army, another signed up with the Air Force and yet the fourth became a Marine.

We live in a world where we need to have individuals–men and women–who are willing to join the service in order to protect our country from its enemies. I am grateful to each and every one. We have a problem, however, in that we often neglect our veterans once they get home. We pay lip service, certainly, and we offer our thanks on special days like today, but too many of them are suffering from PTSD and not getting the help they need. Too many of them are coming home missing limbs or with serious brain injuries from which there is no real recovery.

I accept on a practical level that we need our Armed Services. We sometimes need to protect ourselves and we need to stamp out to the extent that we can the aggression of those who are simply dictators. Those individuals must be stopped. Having said that, I want to make sure that we acknowledge as a country that merely paying lip service to those who have given up everything for the opportunity to serve their country isn’t enough. We need to provide the support and services that they need when they return for as long as it takes to help them get back to a “regular” life.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my own gratitude to those who have served. Our country could not continue to be the free democracy that it is without your dedication, your commitment to the ideal and your service on the ground. Thank you. And Happy Veteran’s Day.

Don’t Forget to Vote Today

Photo by Shutterstock

Photo by Shutterstock

My message today is short and relatively sweet. Please go vote today.

I won’t suggest for whom you should vote…this is not a political message other than it is a reminder that voting is a privilege that we have as Americans and too few of us use.

It is embarrassing to me when I hear that fewer than half of Americans who have the right to vote actually use their right on any given election day.

I know it is easy to be cynical about politics. It is easy to ask, “What does it matter?” It is easy to talk about “throwing the bums out” and fail to note the importance of any given candidate’s performance.

But let’s not forget that millions of men and women have died for our country. They gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could continue to live in a free and democratic society. We owe it to them to vote today.

Regardless of your political affiliation, do the one thing you can do for our collective democracy today. Go vote. Know the issues. Know the candidate’s positions on the issues. Make a rational decision, but VOTE. Please.

That’s all. Have a great day. And have a great week.

Anthony Cody Documents the Most Frightening Reform Threats

I fear that we are under estimating the harm that is being done by the education “reform” movement, and we are definitely losing the public relations debate when major news media like MSNBC moderators and TIME magazine are buying the false narrative. Thanks to people like Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody, the reformers are being held accountable.