The voters spoke and almost all said the same thing — the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress have demonstrated a tone deafness that would have been hard to imagine after their resounding election victories in 2008.
Their arrogance extends from their "victory" in the healthcare legislation (over the objections of a majority of the American people) to a stimulus bill that dramatically increased the deficit without creating promised jobs to, most recently, the re-election of Nancy Pelosi as their leader in the House.
They yearn to keep going on cap and trade, hiking income and payroll taxes, and other ways to expand the role of government over average people's lives. They just don't get it, and it's no wonder that Democrat's fared so poorly at the polls.
One would think that they would have at least done well developing policies that speak to the core of the Democratic/liberal coalition: expanding the doors of educational opportunity to disadvantaged and under served populations.
The first big move on education was the White House working with Congress to shut down a desperately popular school choice program in Washington, D.C. that had poverty-stricken but loving minority parents jumping with joy to get their children out of some of the worst performing, most dysfunctional and violent public schools in the nation.
It was a shocking and blatantly cold-hearted example of putting teacher's unions ahead of the best interests of minority children and their parents.
Now the Obama administration has launched a wholesale attack against largely non-unionized post-secondary schools that provide trade-oriented educations for working people seeking to improve their prospects in the job market.
Rather than taking the public route of proposing and debating legislation, the bureaucrats at the Department of Education have chosen the regulatory approach, changing rules in the fine print that could pull the rug out from under nearly 1.8 million students and their families.
They've painted a bulls-eye on the for-profit vocational schools whose students may have a poor record paying back student loans.
At the center of the debate is a regulatory provision known as the "gainful employment" requirement, which is part of the (incredibly complex) set of rules that determine a school's eligibility for its students to participate in federal financial aid programs.
In essence, an educational program that is designed to prepare students for a career or vocation must demonstrate that students are adequately prepared for gainful employment upon completion of the program.
At first glance, that makes sense. However, the regulations really don't address the issue of whether or not students are prepared academically or with the necessary skill sets to compete in the job market upon graduation.
What they focus on is the rate at which students at a school pay back their student loans using a complicated, three-part series of tests based on data collected from various sources.
It would be fair if these proposed rules applied equally to all sectors of higher education, but they don't. The regulations are designed to come down hard only on these for-profit, career-school sector, that primarily serves low-income, minority, and adult students, while leaving the public and private nonprofit higher education institutions unscathed.
Teach someone how to be a nurse practitioner, or to repair computer networks or air conditioning units, you get penalized. Design a program for adults that are juggling work and family while studying, get hammered by the bureaucrats. No teacher's unions involved? Take a hike.
But you Ivy League schools? keep graduating those economically valuable art history and comparative literature majors and you get to keep hauling in federal dollars by the billions every year. And those students borrow thousands of dollars too.
The same "we are champions of the less fortunate but don't really like them" mentality means that the 50 percent-plus dropouts in our major cities won't be getting an option in public schools to learn how to fix airplane engines or air conditioners or circuit boxes that might actually keep them coming to school in the hope of a good job upon graduation.
In other words, if you're not college bound, you're out of luck with this White House either while attending in high school or afterwards.
Tone deaf? Yes — criminally so. While tens of thousands of people are trying to adapt to this economy and improve their lot in life,our government is crafting proposals to limit educational opportunities for those who need it most.
Joe (the Plumber) Wurzelbacher rose to fame when he questioned President Barack Obama on the presidency. Since then, Joe goes around the country promoting hard work and love of country. Joe is also heavily involved in supporting our military and Veterans. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website: AlaskasHealingHearts.com
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