October 18, 2012

Answers I Wish I Had Heard (part 1)

Sure, Tuesday's debate was good theater.

President Obama and Businessman Romney took off the gloves and got serious with each other.  CNN's Candy Crowley got yelled at for being too partisan, the timekeeper was accused of being too partisan, the audience was criticized for being too partisan...just like in all of the other debates.  Although I have to admit, it's going to be a while before I forget Binders Full of Women. 

But also, much like the other debates, we get questions asked and not answered.  I would love it if either candidate had come up with real answers to the questions that were asked.  Take the education question, for example, from Jeremy:
As a 20-year-old college student, all I hear from professors, neighbors, and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to get employment. What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?
Now, for the answer I wish I had heard.

Jeremy, what do you want to be when you grow up, when you graduate from college? What’s your major? Because, I have to tell you, the best way to ensure you’ll have a job when you graduate is by positioning yourself well, by aligning yourself and your educational goals with the growth industries of the future. (I'm sure your parents hope you're making the right decision on that too.)
There are a couple of things that we can do to help you, and those coming along behind you. For example, I believe that if we’re going to compete with other countries, particularly in math and science, we need to have a national curriculum.  We can’t let each state teach whatever they want, in some cases very different things, and expect to be able to compete with everyone else in the world.  We need to offer consistency, and consistently strong programs, focusing on the jobs of the future. This is what other countries are doing today, and have been doing for a while. We're behind the curve on this, and we need to change that.

We have to focus on providing an education that will help fill the jobs that employers have now that are going unfilled because our workforce doesn’t have the right skills. We have to provide an education that prepares our graduates for high tech jobs, teaching jobs, science and engineering jobs, work in the energy sector, careers in medicine and medical research – those are the jobs that can thrive in the new economy that we’re building.  And I do include teaching as a 'new economy' job, because without great teachers, we cannot be successful.

I’ll do what I can to make sure we have qualified teachers at every level, so our students are prepared for what comes after high school; I’ll work with businesses and educational institutions to make sure we’re incorporating real-world training and meeting our economic needs, whether it’s for kids in technical schools, two- and four-year colleges, or folks going after advanced degrees.  We've seen this industry/education partnership work before, and we need to foster more of it.
I firmly support making education affordable for families and their kids, through loans and grants, through scholarships and work-study programs – the whole gamut of financing options. And it’s a cooperative effort between families, businesses, foundations, colleges and universities, and yes, taxpayers.
I support the Affordable Care Act, which gives recent college grads the to opportunity to stay on their parents health insurance, if they have it; which makes preventative care more affordable; and which provides a way for more people to get health insurance overall. At least one of those should help make it possible for you to support yourself.
We all have a stake in your future, Jeremy, because you are our future. We'll do what we can to help you be successful in school, and to strengthen the economy so you can find a job when you get out of college.  And while you're in college, we're relying on you to make the most of the opportunity.

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