Posts tagged ‘2012 presidential election’

December 12, 2012

Quick Links – online AP courses; no guilt about younger generation’s national debt burden; smartphones probably don’t improve academic achievement

by Grace

»»»  Low-income high schools in New York will get access to ‘online and blended” AP courses

BUFFALO — High school students in Yonkers and 16 other poor districts will have better access to advanced placement coursesunder a program featuring virtual classrooms.

The state Education Department this week said $17.3 million in federal Race to the Top Funds will be distributed to 17 districts or consortia of districts under the state’s Virtual Advanced Placement Program.

Education Commissioner John King says low-income students don’t always get the chance to take AP courses, which give students a leg up in their college applications. The 18-month grants will fund the development of online and blended courses that combine online and traditional classroom instruction.

Other districts receiving funding include New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Niagara Falls, Huntington and South Huntington.

Yonkers schools get virtual learning grants (

»»»  A baby boomer is feeling less guilty about leaving the younger generation with so much debt because, hey, it’s what the kids voted for.

From a  “50-something, white, conservative” Republican’s letter to the editor of Barron’s:

As reported by the national exit poll conducted by Edison Research, Americans aged 18 to 29 voted 60% to 36% for Barack Obama. Prior to Obama’s re-election, I believed that it was morally wrong for my generation to pass a crushing national debt on to the next one.

The debt will top $20 trillion before Obama moves out of the White House, and it will include spiraling retirement-related costs that the administration has shown zero interest in bringing under control, largely driven by baby boomers piling into the Social Security and Medicare systems.

With the president’s electoral crushing of Mitt Romney, my overriding sense of morality and guilt have vanished. Thank you, kids!

»»»  Hispanic and African-American students lag behind white students in academic achievement, but surpass them in using smartphones for homework.

That’s my takeaway from an article informing us that 1 in 3 middle-schoolers uses smart phones for homework.  Nowhere in the article was there any mention that using these digital devices actually improves academic achievement.

The national survey of 1,000 students in Grades 6 through 8 found that:

  • 39 percent use smartphones for homework.
  • 26 percent use smartphones at least weekly for homework.
  • 31 percent use tablets for homework.
  • 29 percent of those with household incomes under $25,000 use smartphones for homework.
  • Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely than whites to use smartphones for homework, at 49 percent, 42 percent, and 36 percent, respectively.
November 14, 2012

Quick links – Parents burdened by ‘crushing’ student loans; young voters turned out in record numbers; longing for pensions

by Grace

——  ‘Child’s Education, but Parents’ Crushing Loans’  (New York Times)

There are record numbers of student borrowers in financial distress, according to federal data. But millions of parents who have taken out loans to pay for their children’s college education make up a less visible generation in debt. For the most part, these parents did well enough through midlife to take on sizable loans, but some have since fallen on tough times because of the recession, health problems, job loss or lives that took a sudden hard turn.

And unlike the angry students who have recently taken to the streets to protest their indebtedness, most of these parents are too ashamed to draw attention to themselves.

Related:  Paying student loans in your 20s, 30s, and beyond interferes with saving for retirement (Cost of College)

——  College students voted in record numbers with most supporting Obama.

According to Fair Elections, 19 percent of all voters this year were between the ages of 18 and 29, which is a percentage point higher than the turnout of young voters in the 2008 presidential election.

Spaulding said while total number of young voters remained “on-par” with the numbers from 2008, in some states, such as California, the percentage of voters under 30 years old increased by over 5 percent.

He attributes the spike in young voter turnout to the increasing ease of voter registration. Many first time voters are uninformed as to how and where to register which eventually causes them to miss out on voting entirely, he said. Spaulding said the rise of online registration is one of the biggest factors in increasing participation.

Obama support slipped, but remained higher than for Republican candidate.

In some battleground states, tallies show, their ballots were decisive factors in the president’s victory….

… Sixty percent of young people voted for him, compared with 66 percent four years ago….

… As in 2008, the edge young voters gave to Mr. Obama proved decisive in some states. According to Circle, in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, if young people had not voted or if only half of them had supported the president, Mr. Romney would have won.

Employees lust after pensions, but the memory may be better than the reality.

… In several head-to-head questions, researchers asked whether workers would prefer it if their employers offered them a guaranteed retirement benefit (essentially a pension) or other perks. A large plurality – 49% — chose the pension over the opportunity to earn a bigger bonus….

… A generation ago, pension plans were offered to more than four out of five private-sector workers; today it’s fewer than one in three. Pensions have largely been replaced by defined contribution retirement plans like 401(k)s, which were hammered along with stock and bond prices during the financial crisis….

There’s also some evidence workers may be looking at the past with rose colored glasses. Another recent study from the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry’s trade group, argues exactly that. Its findings: In 1980, payments from private pension plans accounted for only about 8% of retirees’ overall income, compared to 53% for social security. (The rest came from other sources, ranging from other forms of government help to dividends on stocks.)

Since most 401(k)s are stocked with mutual funds, of course, the institute has a lot to gain from promoting the current 401(k) system. But the study is still worth note. The explanation: While many workers had access to pension plans thirty years ago, many failed to collect full benefits because of various factors. Switching jobs, for example, tended to reduce employees’ standing under formulas plans used to calculate payouts. The government moved to fix these problems with new laws in the 1970s and ‘80s, but by then the move to 401(k)-type plans was already underway.

“There’s a persistent misconception that there once existed a time when private sector workers typically retired with full pension benefits,” says ICI senior economist Peter Brady. “Many actually received little or nothing.”

Were pensions as great as you remember? (WSJ MarketWatch)

September 12, 2012

Quick Takes – States are graded on public education; college students voting in November

by Grace

—  The Center for Education Reform has an interactive map of the United States that “shows how the states are doing in providing the critical policy ingredients necessary for effective schools to serve all children”.

The CER supports charter schools, school choice, and performance pay.

…  Each state has been given a grade for each of several components, and those grades collectively factor into an overall grade and general education weather forecast for that state. As states adopt new policies and programs, the grades may change.

The overall grades are based on these components:
—  Governors
—  Media Reliability
—  Charter School Law
—  Teacher Quality
—  Digital Learning (Coming Soon)
—  Parent Power Index (Coming Soon)

In New York, the “forecast is cloudy”with the following grades:
—  Governors:  F
—  Media Reliability:  C+
—  Charter School Law:  B
—  Teacher Quality:  C

—  Will college students show up for this presidential election?

The question has ramifications for college campuses around the country in the two months that remain before Election Day: this year, will young people — especially college students, a group that backed Obama overwhelmingly in 2008 — show up?

Has enthusiasm for Obama among college students waned?

Della Volpe, who has polled young voters 22 times since 2000, said that Democrats shouldn’t count on college students to support them in such large numbers this year. Republicans have worked hard to win over disaffected 2008 Obama voters who, since graduating college, have struggled to find jobs and repay student loans. (Representative Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for the vice presidency, made the pitch in one of the most memorable lines of his convention speech last week: “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”)

But Della Volpe said his polling data suggest that Obama’s college student base from 2008, voters now in their early to mid-20s, still support him. It’s the younger voters — college students too young to vote the last time around — who should concern Democrats.

“It’s a myth that people turn 18 and automatically become Democrats,” Della Volpe said. In Wisconsin, Obama dominated among voters aged 18 to 24 in 2008. But last fall, in the election to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker, the governor won 18- to 24-year-olds by 3 points, helping him retain his post.

One college student I know tells me that while young people still overwhelmingly support Obama, their diminished fervor for his presidency may cause fewer of them to show up at the voting booth in November.

Here’s the “faded Obama poster” video.

August 7, 2012

69% of Americans believe ‘making college education affordable and available’ is important for next president

by Grace

According to a July 19-22 USA Today/Gallup poll, 69% of Americans believe ‘making college education affordable and available’ is extremely/very important for next president.

There should have been a follow-up question asking exactly how the president should accomplish this.  Improving the nation’s public schools, considered important by 83% of respondents, would probably help make college available to more students, but I’m doubtful there’s very much the president can do in that regard.

Making college education “affordable and available”  was viewed as “extremely important” by 38% of Obama supporters and by 22% of Romney supporters.

HT TaxProf Blog

Related:  High school graduation goals do not include getting students ready for college (Cost of College)

May 10, 2012

Weak economic recovery has been a ‘boom for the grannies and a bust for the kids’

by Grace

An analysis of recent jobs figures at reveals a disturbing development: the biggest beneficiaries from the economic recovery are Boomers, while everyone else is getting the shaft.

Among those 55-and-up, the employment-to-population ratio barely dipped even in the depth of recession and is now higher than at the end of 2007. The ratio among those 25-54 remains about 4 percentage points lower than before the recession started.

Older workers are staying on the job longer, in part to counter lackluster performance of retirement accounts and housing values.  Meanwhile, the high unemployment rates of Generation X and Millennials could help explain the rise of  young adults living with their parents.

Long-Term Trend

The trend of falling employment as a share of the 54-and-under population and rising employment among those 55 and up has been in force for more than a decade.

See this chart for the labor participation rates going back to 1948.

Walter Russell Mead on the politics of this generational job divide

… it’s ironic to say the least that a president swept into power on a tsunami of young voter support has presided over a boom for the grannies and a bust for the kids. Logically, President Obama should expect to do somewhat better among senior citizens and worse among young people than in his first campaign — but logic often goes one way and politics another.

%d bloggers like this: