Our children’s education should not end at high school
John Kline believes our children are America’s greatest resource, and their education is critical to the economic well-being of our country. We can no longer accept a broken system in which only roughly 30 percent of eighth grade students have basic reading and math skills. As the Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, John is fighting to streamline spending, promote flexibility and innovation, improve teacher quality, and empower parents.
— John Kline for Congress website dated January 1, 2014
It is now over a year-and-a-half removed from that New Year’s resolution … thus far, not much has been accomplished … except that Chairman Kline received an honorary “Doctor of Sticking It To Students” Award.
It seems that award may not have been the recognition that Chairman … err “Dr.” Kline wanted … as reported, “Dr.” Kline was not available to receive his prestigious award. Haylee Hilton, Chair of the Minnesota College Democrats, described the attempted presentation :
“The receptionist seemed excited at first until we mentioned that the diploma was for “sticking it to the students.” Her face fell and she requested we quit taking pictures and video and told us we did not have permission to use her likeness in any public way. She composed herself rather quickly, however, and kept pleasant conversation and had the constituents fill out forms.”
The diploma was briskly set behind the desk and out of sight.
Was it a stunt … of course.
Politicians pull stunts all the time … and sometimes using students as their props … with the intent to implying that they are listening to the students.
Case-in-point … with the backdrop of Viet Nam war and colleges experiencing protests (of course, everybody remembers Norm Coleman led the takeover of Weller Hall at Hofstra University), on December 20, 1970, President Richard Nixon held a one-on-one session with John Kasich, 18 and a freshman at The Ohio State University … resulting in a nice photo-op.
Why did John Kasich get a one-on-one but Haylee Hilton did not … well read John Kasich’s letter requesting a meeting with President Nixon.
“I think that you, as far as I can judge, are not only a great President but an even greater person. I say an even greater person because you sacrifice your political future for the good of the country,” he wrote.
And he closed with this prediction: “Finally, I can see a big ‘Nixon Victory’ in 72. There may be just one problem in your way but I’m sure you’ll clear it. I know you are looking ahead but not wanting to. But, again I say, ‘Nixon in 72.’”
Funny thing is that both Kasich and Hilton are right … Richard Nixon did have a big victory and John Kline is sticking it to the students.
Kline’s 2014 New Year’s resolution was after the Chairman completed his May 30-31 2013 “College Tour” visiting Inver Hills Community College, Dakota County Technical College, Saint Olaf and Carlton College.
Since then has anyone seen John Kline on a college campus ?
Or in any public meeting with students, parents and administrators discussing the cost of higher education ?
The May 2013 tour made sense … Higher Education Act (HEA) which governs federal financial aid programs, was due to expire at the end of 2013, but House Republicans were so focused on repeated attempts to repeal ObamaCare, it left them no time but to simply extended HEA through 2015 — a failure for Chairman Kline to address an issue that students care about.
With another year-end deadline, Chairman Kline has finally begun to develop some legislative proposals :
H.R.3177 : Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act.
H.R.3178 : Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act.
H.R.3179 : Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act.
H.R.3180 : Flexible Pell Grant for 21st Century Students Act.
These minor bipartisan proposals do not address the students concerns …
— Reducing the “handling fee” that Chairman Kline insisted upon when he “reformed” the student loan programs thus allowing the government to profit on these loans;
— Enabling students with debt to refinance their loans at low current rates;
— Ensuring that students never have to repay more than 10 percent of their monthly income;
— Allowing parents with PLUS loans to refinance at current rates;
— Extending the American Opportunity Tax Credit to low-income families sending their sons and daughters to these schools;
— Expanding on programs such as Trio and GEAR UP to invest in student support, including child care for students who are parents, to help all students stay in school and boost completion.
While Chairman Kline has the Higher Education Act on his “to do” list by December 31st, House Republicans have to complete appropriations for the new fiscal year scheduled to start October 1st … and their proposal is to cut $2.8 Billion from the fiscal year 2015 level while prohibiting on the Department of Education from moving forward with regulations to establish a college ratings system and define “gainful employment” and “credit hour.”
That’s the Kline Agenda … operating at it’s own pace and direction … when it should be listening to the 180 co-sponsors of H.R.1434 – Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act; the 145 co-sponsors of H.R.1260 – American Opportunity Tax Credit Act of 2015; the 43 co-sponsors of H.R.2680 – HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act; and the 40 co-sponsors of H.R.1421 – Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2015 … there is work to be done … but as the students who tried to present Chairman Kline found when they attempted to deliver his “award“, Chairman Kline is AWOL.