MCT response to lib critic regarding Detroit Public Schools plan to construct urban farm

Seems like a liberal nerve was struck by a recent MCT post illustrating the insanity of the Detroit Public School district plan to create an urban farm at an abandoned school campus. Via MCT:

Detroit Public Schools officials plan Thursday to announce details of a project to turn the sprawling site at the corner of Van Dyke Road and I-94 into a 26.9-acre urban farm.

The announcement will come as part of a real estate developers conference on what to do with Detroit’s dozens of vacant former school buildings.

The school district plans to build eight hoop houses and start growing vegetables on the new Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus in 2014, with later phases to include food processing and distribution to students and the community, officials said Wednesday.

As pointed out here @ MCT this effort is a colossal waste of time and sure money loser for the school district. Given the district’s chronic academic under achievement and the fact Detroit Public Schools have their very own Emergency Financial Manager, you would think most people understand the school district needs to get the basics under control before embarking on an urban farming boondoggle. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

Via MCT Twitter Feed:

“Education should proceed snark.” Really?

How about financial responsibility to taxpayers before embarking on a “hip, green” boondoggle? Or, more importantly, how about teaching children in your district to read and perform basic math before wasting time growing carrots at an abandoned school?

In case you are unaware of the scope of the Detroit Public School district failure to its students, here are a couple of eye-opening statistics outlining 8th grade student performance in math:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level as 3 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (4 percent) and in 2009 (4 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level as 24 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (29 percent) and in 2009 (23 percent).

DPS student performance in reading is just as poor:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 9 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (7 percent) and in 2009 (7 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 46 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (43 percent) and in 2009 (40 percent).

Detroit Public Schools (complete with an Emergency Financial Manager in tow) should reconsider their ‘urban farm’ pipe dream. When only 9% of their 8th grade students are considered at a ‘proficient’ reading level and a staggering 3% are considered at a ‘proficient’ level in math, failing to focus all their time and resources on the children in their classrooms is shameful.

So, who precisely, is putting snark ahead of education?

Shock Poll: Only 47% of Americans Say Tax Cuts Help The Economy

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.

Mark Twain


Despite news that President Obama is proposing $55 billion in new government spending and higher taxes in 2015, slightly fewer voters expect their own personal taxes to up during the remainder of his presidency. Most continue to believe increased spending hurts the economy, but for the first time, fewer than half of voters believe tax cuts help the economy.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% of Likely U.S. Voters expect their own personal taxes to go up under the Obama administration. That’s down eight points from December and is the lowest level measured since November 2012. Still, just eight percent (8%) expect their taxes to go down under Obama, while 43% expect them to remain about the same. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Milton has a nice perspective about how increased spending is, in reality, is a tax increase:.

Therefore, every year as government spending increases, our true taxes increase. Is it any wonder that as more and more money and productivity are siphoned off to fund government spending, our economic growth stagnates.

Milton Friedman must become required reading / viewing because this poll result is completely crazy.

Intern Industrial Complex: Millennials can’t find paying jobs in “meaningful” vocations such as “Record Executive”

Wow, where to begin:

Like other 20-somethings seeking a career foothold, Andrew Lang, a graduate of Penn State, took an internship at an upstart Beverly Hills production company at age 29 as a way of breaking into movie production. It didn’t pay, but he hoped the exposure would open doors.

When that internship proved to be a dead end, Mr. Lang went to work at a second production company, again as an unpaid intern. When that went nowhere, he left for another, doing whatever was asked, like delivering bottles of wine to 27 offices before Christmas. But that company, too, could not afford to hire him, even part time.

A year later, Mr. Lang is on his fourth internship, this time for a company that produces reality TV shows. While this internship at least pays him (he makes $10 an hour, with few perks), Mr. Lang feels no closer to a real job and worries about being an intern forever. “No one hires interns,” said Mr. Lang, who sees himself as part of a “revolving class of people” who can’t break free of the intern cycle. “Is this any way to live?”

I don’t know, spending a fortune at Penn State studying ‘entertainment’ and our intrepid intern wonders why he can’t find a job?

I’ll admit I have no experience in the world of entertainment, but I would expect the only way to break into the entertainment field is either knowing the right person or you are insanely talented and know someone. Obtaining a sheepskin from Penn State isn’t going to introduce you to the right person or suddenly make you insanely talented.

The NYT sob story continues:

 The intern glass ceiling isn’t limited to Hollywood. Tenneh Ogbemudia, 23, who aspires to be a record executive, has had four internships at various New York media companies, including Source magazine and Universal Music Group.

“In any given month, I’d say I apply to at least 300 full-time jobs,” she said, noting these attempts were to no avail. “On the other hand, I can apply to one or two internship positions a month and get a call back from both.”

Call them members of the permanent intern underclass: educated members of the millennial generation who are locked out of the traditional career ladder and are having to settle for two, three and sometimes more internships after graduating college, all with no end in sight.

Again, you need to know the right person, or be insanely talented and know the right person. Or you need to be a connected entrepreneur and start your own record label:

In 1944 brothers Nesuhi and Ahmet Ertegun elected to remain in the USA when their mother and sister returned to Turkey, following the death of their father Munir Ertegun, who had been the first Turkish Ambassador to the United States. The brothers had become ardent fans of jazz and rhythm & blues music, amassing a collection of over 15,000 78rpm records.[4] Ahmet ostensibly stayed on in Washington to undertake post-graduate music studies at Georgetown University but immersed himself in the Washington music scene and decided to enter the record business, then enjoying a resurgence after wartime restrictions on the shellac used in manufacture.[5] He convinced the family dentist, Dr Vahdi Sabit, to invest $10,000 and recruited Herb Abramson, a dentistry student. Abramson had worked as a part-time A&R manager/producer for the jazz label National Records, signing Big Joe Turner and Billy Eckstine, and then founded Jubilee Records, but had no interest in its most successful artists and subsequently sold his share in Jubilee, investing $2500 in the new Atlantic label.

Yep, a kid with a wild dream became an entrepreneur and used his connections to get his vision off the ground. Granted this is very rare, especially in the entertainment world.

The Times tale of woe continues:

That may explain why millennials like Breanne Thomas, 24, an aspiring entrepreneur in Brooklyn, has bounced from internship to internship. Unlike her parents’ generation, it is not enough to find a steady job; she wants to follow the path of Mark Zuckerberg, or at least to get in on the ground floor of the next Facebook, the next Twitter.

“ ‘Success’ doesn’t always mean financial success, but doing something you’re passionate about,” said Ms. Thomas, who graduated with two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Oregon in 2012. “It’s kind of my goal one day to have my own company, to be part of something that is going to do something great. That’s why I’m in tech.”

That kind of ambition comes with a price, however. Competition for salaried high-tech jobs is fierce, so Ms. Thomas has had to settle for internships: three, so far, including at a five-person food-delivery start-up, a beauty products site and, currently, a well-known social-networking app that she asked not to name.

Tech isn’t just working at the next startup trying to emulate Twitter or Facebook. If our tech intern is decent software engineer, what about working in a more traditional industry? Manufacturers are always looking for engineers to develop embedded software.

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Sure, you won’t be able to ride your scooter wearing a ironic t-shirt at Ford Motor Co’s Product Development Center. However, what you will have is a good paying, interesting and steady career.

What is it with authoritarian types and their fascination with “higher education”?

Vladimir Putin 2014 (Via Pravda):

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree aimed at strengthening the human resource capacity of the country. To improve the situation with the lack of specialists in such important for any country professions as engineers, doctors, scientists, and so on, it was decided to stimulate Russian students by sending them to graduate schools abroad. Students who earned bachelor’s degrees in Russian universities may enter leading universities included in the three world rankings (The Times Higher Education, Shanghai University and Quacquarelli Symonds), and be eligible for financial support from the government. There is only one caveat – after graduation they must go home and find a job.

Obama 2011 (Via USA Today – Our version of Pravda):

“In a global economy, putting a college education within reach for every American has never been more important, but it’s also never been more expensive,” Obama said in a statement released Tuesday, a day before he’ll deliver a speech on the topic in Denver.

“That’s why today we’re taking steps to help nearly 1.6 million Americans lower their monthly student loan payments,” Obama said.

The student loan orders are the latest in a campaign Obama aides call “We Can’t Wait,” stressing executive action as the president’s $447 billion jobs bill is held up in Congress.

Also this week, Obama has authorized executive orders designed to help veterans find jobs and make it easier for struggling homeowners to refinance mortgages.

Maybe Obama and Putin think it ‘s a way to fabricate support for more government handouts:

The more that learn to read the less learn how to make a living. That’s one thing about a little education. It spoils you for actual work. The more you know the more you think somebody owes you a living.

Will Rogers

Politicians and government bureaucrats love to leverage the idea that someone owes you a living.

Liberal With Other People’s Money: Sen Stabenow (D-MI) want’s more of our money for job training

Remember when Michigan’s very own Debbie Stabenow promised that after the passage of Obama’s failed ‘stimulus’ there would be a new ‘green’ economy where there would be a wind turbine on every corner and solar panel on every roof?

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Well, that didn’t happen.

Furthermore, our government run economy isn’t producing too many jobs either even with the massive ‘stimulus’ that was diverted everywhere except where it was promised.

Fast-forward to today, Stabenow is now pushing for even more of our money so she can ostensibly redistribute it to local Community Colleges for what she calls “New Skills for New Jobs Act.” According to the Senator:

Senator Stabenow’s New Skills for New Jobs Act builds on successful efforts in Michigan and several other states that are helping community colleges partner with local businesses to provide training to workers for new high-skilled jobs.

Stabenow’s bill would provide a federal match to double the number of workers and businesses that can participate in the Michigan New Jobs Training Program. The bill will also encourage other states to follow Michigan’s lead and develop similar job training programs in their states to help create jobs across the country.

Senator Debbie Stabenow said: “At a time when millions of Americans are looking for good-paying jobs, businesses are struggling to find qualified workers for new positions. Michigan workers can compete with anyone in the world, but they need the right skills and training opportunities to match the needs of emerging high-growth industries. The New Skills for New Jobs Act will leverage successful job training partnerships between our community colleges and local businesses to help close the skills gap so our workers are able to get good jobs right now.”

At a time when millions of Americans are looking for good-paying jobs...” Unreal.

We spend obscene amounts of money on K-12 public education, so the question needs asking: why aren’t people graduating high school with a high school level education in the first place? Furthermore, why are taxpayers on the hook to pay for this training?

WSJ Agrees With MCT- Cut Government Subsidies To Reduce Cost Of College

If you read today’s Wall Street Journal, you would’ve seen this yesterday:

By Mr. Vedder’s lights, the cost conundrum started with the Higher Education Act of 1965, a Great Society program that created federal scholarships and low-interest loans aimed at making college more accessible.

In 1964, federal student aid was a mere $231 million. By 1981, the feds were spending $7 billion on loans alone, an amount that doubled during the 1980s and nearly tripled in each of the following two decades, and is about $105 billion today. Taxpayers now stand behind nearly $1 trillion in student loans.

Meanwhile, grants have increased to $49 billion from $6.4 billion in 1981. By expanding eligibility and boosting the maximum Pell Grant by $500 to $5,350, the 2009 stimulus bill accelerated higher ed’s evolution into a middle-class entitlement. Fewer than 2% of Pell Grant recipients came from families making between $60,000 and $80,000 a year in 2007. Now roughly 18% do.

This growth in subsidies, Mr. Vedder argues, has fueled rising prices: “It gives every incentive and every opportunity for colleges to raise their fees.”

Sure, cut the government grant’s to colleges. However,another important ingredient is making student loans harder to get. Do this and watch college tuition costs drop like a rock is a few short years as pointed out here at MCT in early 2012:

One way to drive down the cost of college tuition is getting the government out of the business of student loans. Every time government becomes involved in an economic activity, it becomes more expensive. If government student loans are severely limited and Universities see fewer students attending their hallowed halls of higher learning, cost of tuition will drop in a hurry.

Good to see others catching up to MCT….

H/T Instapundit…

Michigan Higher Education Roundup

Due to the State of Michigan reducing handouts to colleges across the state, many private colleges are beginning to compete for students by getting creative. Admittedly, it is a very small step in the right direction to curb the never ending tuition hikes, but it is a start:

The goal is similar at Alma College, which starting in the fall is offering a free semester, valued at $16,000, for students who don’t graduate in four years. The college north of Lansing is also dangling $2,500 in front of incoming students to use during their junior year to offset costs of an educational off-campus experience such as a summer internship, studying abroad or doing laboratory research.

“We want to make sure our students are prepared, and we can provide them with experiences and structures to make sure they are well-prepared upon graduation,” said Mike Silverthorn, Alma spokesman.

Letting the free market control the cost of college tuition. It’s an idea so crazy it just might work.

Next, a not so great idea. The University of Michigan is floating the idea of giving illegal immigrants the in-state tuition rate:

The University of Michigan is expected to begin offering in-state tuition to undocumented students who can prove they graduated from a Michigan high school and attended at least some middle and high school in the state.

The new policy, part of a sweeping overhaul of who is considered an in-state student, will be voted on Thursday by the university’s Board of Regents. The new proposal also will give in-state tuition to any military member currently serving or honorably discharged, regardless of where the person lives.

An average in-state student at U-M will pay $13,142 for tuition this coming school year. That more than triples, to $40,392, for out-of-state students.

“We believe these changes create a clearer path to in-state tuition for several groups of future students, including military veterans and undocumented students who have made Michigan their home,” Provost Martha Pollack said in a press release.

If the University of Michigan want’s to do this, fine. Just stop taking subsidies from Michigan taxpayers to fund their social engineering projects.

********* H/T TS ***********

Government Rakes In More Money From Student Loans Than ExxonMobil


The U.S. government projects to make more money off student loans this fiscal year than ExxonMobil, Apple, J.P. Morgan Chase or Fannie Mae made on their respective businesses last year, a new analysis shows.

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections, the federal government projects a record $50-billion profit on student loans this year. ExxonMobil made $44.9 billion in 2012, according to published reports, making it the most profitable company in the country.

Meanwhile colleges continue increasing tuition and paying administrators exorbitant salaries.

One recent grad explains (who managed to escape the higher ed brainwashing) why higher ed prices are skyrocketing:

Jonathon Whaley’s loan payments suck out about $750 a month from his bank account. The 25-year-old Grand Rapids resident is paying off both federal and private loans. His private loans charge him 4% interest. His federal loans charge him 7%.

“Because the government has almost ensured anyone who applies will get the loan they need, schools have been able to drive prices up with no concern as to where funding will come from,”

It’s like he’s been reading MCT…

As pointed out previously here at MCT, when the government intervenes in the economy by subsidizing higher ed by direct support to Colleges and Universities on one hand, then subsidizing student loans on the other, Colleges are insulated from market forces. They have zero incentive to control costs and even less incentive to provide a quality education to its students.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but the best thing we can do for higher education is let the market do it job, forcing Universities to innovate and compete for potential students educational dollars.

Many college age students will rail against ExxonMobil as a greedy corporation out to destroy our children’s future through global warming. The irony is, while college students are angry at ExxonMobil they are busily signing over their futures to the federal government (and greedy colleges) through student loans.