Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Go Back To School!

I don't like getting too political or partisan on this blog, but when our Professor-in-Chief exhorted Americans last night to get back in school, how can you not applaud?

So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.

And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself; it's quitting on your country. And this country needs and values the talents of every American.

That's why -- that's why we will support -- we will provide the support necessary for all young Americans to complete college and meet a new goal: By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That is a goal we can meet.
Unrealistic? Perhaps. Funds available to help this happen? Who knows. But a direct plan of action for Americans to get higher education, beyond the usual "make college more affordable" presidential platitudes?

Probably the first since Roosevelt pushed the G.I. Bill in 1944 and forever changed the landscape of higher education, economy and social class in this country.

It's been interesting to listen to the debate lately over the stimulus, with critics pointing out that these types of Roosevelt-like New Deal programs didn't end the Great Depression, it was World War II.

In fact, it was probably the G. I. bill which ended and staved off the return to the Great Depression, because as unemployment began to rise again after the war ended, servicemen were able to go back to school, get better jobs, and buy middle class homes. The entire middle class suburbanization of America was created largely by the G.I. Bill.

Education may not be "shovel-ready" and therefore not a quick fix to the current downturn. But we have plenty of "beaker-ready" projects on standby, and students are a big part of that equation.

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