Monday, February 27, 2006


I'll be the first to say that a college education is not for everyone. Not every young man or woman who receives a high school diploma has the ability --- or the desire --- to seek a higher education. But there are many who want to improve their lot in life through a college degree, but whose family may not have the financial ability to support that dream. Sure, there are student loans that would force reciepants to pay back for much of their working lives (in addition to the loans for their home/car/furniture).

That's what programmes such as Upward Bound are for. It provides tutoring and other academic support for high school students from low income families to increase their chances for admittance and scholarships/other financial assistance which would allow them to make their dream happen. And at least locally, it seems to work well. According to a story in today's Daytona Beach News-Journal, ten of the 11 seniors participating in Daytona Beach Community College's Upward Bound programme entered college last fall, while the 11th joined the military.

So with this kind of success, which I'm certain can be shown across the country, it's amazing --- but not surprising --- that for the second year President Bush has submitted a budget which would eliminate Upward Bound and other educational programmes. Congress, to their credit, kept Upward Bound funded to the tune of $278 million last year.

From an NPR Morning Edition report earlier this month:

The president's choices reflect political priorities, more than a true measure of performance, says Gary Bass, who works for the government watchdog group OMB Watch.

"In the case of AIDS housing, there's more political support for that today," says Bass. "In the case of programs that serve disadvantaged kids, there's less support today."

Bush's budget would scrap about 40 educational programmes totalling more than $3 billion. So can we say that this is the president that supports the "dumbing down of America"?


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