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Should education be free?


Hans de Vries
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I've always felt informing the public of things they need to know in order to make reasoned decisions was the duty of the government. Education should only be a priority if you want your populace to succeed, and if that's the case then higher education should be baked into citizenship, be an integral part of it.

If making a profit is a bigger priority, then charging money for accumulated human knowledge becomes very lucrative. Unfortunately, as we're seeing these days, when you don't focus on intelligence and your citizenry loses half their IQ, they become Q.

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3 hours ago, Hans de Vries said:

With US having lots of problems with student debt and such, do you think the free model of higher education like in Europe should be implemented/

We are all free to learn, debt is a means to suppress that freedom.

It's mocking your intelligence...

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Avoid calling it free. It's not free. There's still a cost. Instead, call it publicly funded education, and yes. I support that. We already have it for K through 12. We should simply extend to include preK through 16. 

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5 hours ago, Hans de Vries said:

With US having lots of problems with student debt and such, do you think the free model of higher education like in Europe should be implemented/

Of course it should be. But, there is a catch: only the people who can already do the math understand what that would cost and how it might be funded - and only a small fraction of those people are willing to make the necessary adjustments and contributions or to extend their access to knowledge to their less fortunate compatriots. In order to bring about such a change, the general public would need to know what the privileged know and won't share. Meanwhile, forces among the privileged oppose any reform with might, fury and unlimited financial backing. As things stand politically, it can't be done, any more than universal public health insurance could be done. The opposition is overwhelming. 

One stopgap measure that could perhaps be implemented, is far more government support for public broadcast media, civics course and educational outlets in all geographic regions. (Not that they're likely to be heard over the Sinclair Group.... but it's worth a try.)

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5 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Of course it should be. But, there is a catch: only the people who can already do the math understand what that would cost and how it might be funded - and only a small fraction of those people are willing to make the necessary adjustments and contributions or to extend their access to knowledge to their less fortunate compatriots. In order to bring about such a change, the general public would need to know what the privileged know and won't share. Meanwhile, forces among the privileged oppose any reform with might, fury and unlimited financial backing. As things stand politically, it can't be done, any more than universal public health insurance could be done. The opposition is overwhelming. 

One stopgap measure that could perhaps be implemented, is far more government support for public broadcast media, civics course and educational outlets in all geographic regions. (Not that they're likely to be heard over the Sinclair Group.... but it's worth a try.)

Is taxing the rich an option?

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17 minutes ago, Hans de Vries said:

The opposition is overwhelming

This is another one of those questions that actually can be answered, and your answer is mistaken. There's fairly broad support for more taxes on wealth and the wealthy. They're just not generally as vocal nor as well connected. 

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-inequality-poll/majority-of-americans-favor-wealth-tax-on-very-rich-reuters-ipsos-poll-idUSKBN1Z9141

Quote

broad public support, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that found nearly two-thirds of respondents agree that the very rich should pay more.

Among the 4,441 respondents to the poll, 64% strongly or somewhat agreed that “the very rich should contribute an extra share of their total wealth each year to support public programs” - the essence of a wealth tax. Results were similar across gender, race and household income. While support among Democrats was stronger, at 77%, a majority of Republicans, 53%, also agreed with the idea.

A wealth tax is levied on an individual’s net worth, such as stocks, bonds and real estate, as well as cash holdings, similar in concept to property taxes. It is separate from an income tax, which applies to wages, interest and dividends, among other sources.

Asked in the poll if “the very rich should be allowed to keep the money they have, even if that means increasing inequality,” 54% of respondents disagreed.

 

25 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

far more government support for public broadcast media, civics course and educational outlets in all geographic regions. (Not that they're likely to be heard over the Sinclair Group.... but it's worth a try.

I appreciate the sentiment here, but most folks aren't getting their information from public broadcasts anymore. Media has become atomized.

 

atomizing-768x438.png

Basically, but adding funding in the way you suggest, you're still fighting yesterday's war and missing the modern enemy. 

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5 hours ago, Hans de Vries said:

With US having lots of problems with student debt and such, do you think the free model of higher education like in Europe should be implemented/

What do you mean by 'higher education' ?

Does hairdressing for instance count ?

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

They're just not generally as vocal nor as well connected. 

Could swore that's what I said.

 

1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

Meanwhile, forces among the privileged oppose any reform with might, fury and unlimited financial backing.

 

1 hour ago, iNow said:

There's fairly broad support for more taxes on wealth and the wealthy.

And yet, no legislation is ever enacted to accomplish this. That would suggest - at to lest to my unschooled mind - that the political power does not lie with these broad supporters.

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Just as a minor side note, European systems vary quite significantly and in quite a few charging significant tuition fees (e.g. UK), especially for international students. In almost all postgraduate degrees are significantly cheaper than in North America. 

However, there are elements that inflate costs in the US and Canada. One that has been mentioned is the public support from states/provinces and feds which forces the universities to compensate with higher tuition. The other part however, is students in North America are used to a much higher level of support. Universities across NA are run like companies with recruiters competing for students (again, due to cuts from public funding). In this model amenities and administrative support (e.g. student support offices) etc. are required to remain competitive, which at least partially inflates prices.

Our somewhat smallish faculty has a few full-time recruiters and student support counsellors. Whereas when I studied in Germany the whole counselling for my degree was a 30 minute presentation done by a staff scientist/instructor (who actually gave wrong instructions forcing me to add a semester to complete my degree). But it was fully funded by taxes. It is not the only issue but I think full public funding can actually result in more efficiencies that drive costs down, which runs a bit counter to the assumption that capitalist mechanisms will reduce costs. In that regard higher education is closer to health care.

 

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2 hours ago, iNow said:

I appreciate the sentiment here, but most folks aren't getting their information from public broadcasts anymore

Pity.

I phrased that previous comment badly.

Quote

no legislation is ever enacted to accomplish this.

It should have been  : Since Roosevelt's tax reform, none of the many legislations, by either party, has accomplished its long-term aim - in most cases, because it was almost immediately repealed or counter-legislated by the next administration. The only time I know when both parties were  in agreement was on the massive tax cuts under Reagan.

Edited by Peterkin
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3 hours ago, Hans de Vries said:

Is taxing the rich an option?

It's not an option available to any party capable of winning a majority in a money-gobbling election process, a profit-centered economy and a wealth-directed network of communication media, public, private, mainstream, print, screen, audio and internet. 

The rich (with the exception of the minority I mentioned above) won't let themselves be taxed any more than they can get away with and have both the resources and legal infrastructure to get away with quite a lot; the very rich can move their liquid assets out of government's reach and fabulously wealthy fly so far above the radar , they're invisible.

IOW - not today

Could be done, with radical reform; could be improved with moderate but substantial reform; - worst effects could be somewhat alleviated by tweaking

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3 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

It's not an option available to any party capable of winning a majority in a money-gobbling election process, a profit-centered economy and a wealth-directed network of communication media, public, private, mainstream, print, screen, audio and internet. 

Unless voting reform happens... like via the legislation currently being proposed by the Democrats, for example. 

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Not sure if I would goall the way o free, if there is really 'free' anything.
But certainly subsidized enough so that a student could work a summer job to earn enough for his/her tuition.

Things you have to work for are always more valued/appreciated.

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51 minutes ago, iNow said:

Unless voting reform happens... like via the legislation currently being proposed by the Democrats, for example. 

What odds are you giving?

(That face.... oh, the daydream i have regarding that face....)

The Biden proposals are modest, but might be somewhat effective, if they were ever put into force. But, even if some travesty of a limp, bleached and states-righted version (see legislative ballad of Obamacare) were somehow to pass into law, and even if the states can't drag their feet into the next century to enact the new laws,  it's another four years before any kind of tax reform can even begin to take shape.... and by then, who knows what-all will have burned down,  blown away or drowned - and who'll have time or money to invest in education when there's dams to shore up, people to dig out and fires to stamp out. (No question mark as the last bit is only a whimsical personal observation.)

 

Edited by Peterkin
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Should higher education be free  (a la European) ?

Well no one seems to care what constitutes higher education but I see that the expected lines have been drawn so let me ask the question in thelight of the following hypothetical situation.

Higher Education in Scotland is free to Scots. (not hypothetical).

Suppose everyone only wanted to study higher Pictish studies.

Should that also be free ?

or

If you prefer to consider the point of my question.

Should all higher studies be free and how do we persuade folks to take up other more useful studies?

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31 minutes ago, studiot said:

how do we persuade folks to take up other more useful studies?

Who gets to decide what is useful, or which studies are more useful than others?

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7 minutes ago, iNow said:

Who gets to decide what is useful, or which studies are more useful than others?

I'm sure you understand the point.

My examples are just that.

Let us just suppose that every Scot applied to do Higher Pictish Studies and the Scottish Government funded this.

Where would Scotland get its future teachers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and so on from ?

And who would employ all the those with a Batchelors or Masters of Pictishness ?

Edited by studiot
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