As college students, education is or should be the most important issue in this election for us. Costs for tuition have been increasing at a rapid pace for many years. But what if that perfect career isn’t waiting for you after college?
Of course, education affects the economy as a whole as well. If people could specialize in jobs that move America forward, our country could compete with countries that are more advanced in technology and efficiency. This is becoming seemingly impossible under President Obama’s leadership.
Obama helps students with increased federal aid and moderate interest rates. According to Whitehouse.gov, the President and Congress helped stop interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans from doubling. Students saved an average of $1000. These savings will come back more harshly however, since helping students in their college only represents a portion of their lives. More national debts will pile up, causing a burden for our generation. If we do not get jobs after graduating, more government assistance will be needed. This would ensure that our education would not be worth anything, since unemployment cannot allow us to use our abilities to change the world.
For Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, education is the first step to a successful economy. He emphasizes the point of the Obama administration’s excessive spending only temporarily fixing problems like the education system. According to NBC News, Romney wants to help individuals with education more than school systems in general. This would ensure that money is going directly to the students instead of teachers unions. Obama seeks to take away opportunities like the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows students in low-income families to choose to leave the failing D.C. public school system to attend private or charter schools, according to the Independent Women’s Forum. According to the Independent Institute, results of this program show 20 percent more students graduating as compared to the public schools. According to The Washington Post, teachers unions were against the program, almost allowing the government to completely cut funding for it. This situation really represents what Obama stands for on education; teachers are granted their wishes presently while the future dreams of students are neglected. Romney plans to expand the program in order to benefit students with little say in their academics, instead of the teachers.
Of course, it cannot be assumed that Romney would cut education spending, since he did not as governor. Romney’s successor as Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, made a misleading statement about Romney’s record on education. Patrick falsely claimed that Romney cut education spending. According to the Washington Post, there was no evidence of cuts on education.
As for Obama, weak assurances are made in his campaign. According to his campaign website, Obama is dedicated to helping veterans attend school and find employment through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. However, according to the New York Times, many veterans and their families are not receiving responses about benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs. While Obama’s campaign claimed that the bill helped 800,000 veterans, the New York Times said that 1.3 million veterans and their families filed claims for assistance last year. As compared to veterans of past wars, double the amount of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans filed for disability assistance because of the negative outlook of the economy. Improving the economy ties in perfectly with veterans getting an education; they cannot get by without government assistance, because going to school would not be efficient if they cannot get a job afterwards.
Many college students can sympathize with these veterans as they try to find their best-suited job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest amount of jobs increased in August was food service jobs. These are not the careers we dream of when we leave college. This year, although United States was ranked second in higher education enrollment in the Global Innovation Index, it was ranked seventy-fourth for students with engineering and science degrees. The United States was ranked thirty-first for primary and secondary education as well.
In May, Romney gave a speech saying that education is the “civil rights issue of our era.” As a businessman, he understands that having a stronger educational system increases our competitiveness in the global economy.
By Emily Leayman