"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Pre-Owned "Representative from Sallie Mae"

Gerald Bracey notes that after Congress stripped vouchers from NCLB during its crafting, Boehner tried on six separate occasions to get them back in. Failing that, he got the next best thing: impossible AYP requirements that assure the failure of most public schools by 2014.

Here is part of a piece on Boehner from TomPaine.com (by Robert Borasage):
. . . For a Republican caucus that can barely summon a majority to pass a ban on former members-turned-lobbyists using the House gym, while grousing about anything approaching real reform, Boehner is the perfect choice.

And for the rest of us, Boehner personifies how the cost of corruption in Washington gets passed on to ordinary Americans. As chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, he is known as the “representative from Sallie Mae.” Sallie Mae is the leading provider of loans to college students and their parents, and Boehner has consolidated his leadership by dispensing big bucks raised from lenders in campaign and party contributions. In fact, the Center for Responsive Politics reports that Sallie Mae is the biggest donor to Boehner's political action committee, called Freedom Project.

In return, he protects their interest. Most recently, he helped develop and push through legislation that may weaken the loan industry’s competition—the Direct Student Loan program, where students bypass Sallie Mae and others and borrow directly from the government. While taking it to their competition, Boehner openly reassured bankers that they would not be harmed greatly by this legislation—as reported in the Chronicle of Education —he informed a group of bankers that they could rest easy in his “trusted hands.”

College tuition is soaring, and grant levels aren’t keeping up. Under Boehner’s leadership, Congress has refused to raise the top level of Pell grants, despite repeated campaign pledges by George W. Bush to do so. As a result, more and more students have to work part time, while taking on ever greater levels of debt to pay for college. Already, hundreds of thousands are having college priced out of reach; thousands more drop out, unable to sustain the burden of classes and work and debt. And those that do make it will find the difficult burden of paying of those loans just got harder.

The new pre-owned leader of the Republicans in Congress is rewarding the bankers that contribute to his campaigns by protecting their profits and threatening their competition. And in this most corrupt Congress, he’s portrayed as the reformer. When the stench gets this thick, it is no wonder that people start talking about cleaning the stables.

Billee Bussard provided this pertinent detail: While Pell Grants have remained unchanged for the past four years, tuition in state schools, take Florida for instance, has increased by 37% or in-state and 64% for out-of-state.

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