Black Wonkett on Why You Need to Read "Trapped" by Daniel Brook, Part II.


Now that we have established that $250K is the
new $100K.

Let’s revisit why our social workers, teachers, and
filmmakers are choosing to go into finance.

Daniel suggests that young people
don’t want to be investment bankers because they
want to be rich
, they want to do it because they want
to live in the city and and they are scared of being poor.

Thats real talk.

Daniel posits that tuition costs are high because
the trustees can set them high. When he wonders
aloud, “Where is the sticker shock, and refusal to pay?”

I think of the “keeping up with the Jones’s
syndrome” and how that can impact a family’s decision to give
their children the “best education” even if that means saddling
the child and the family with $150K worth of debt.

I understand that school is expensive.
However, Daniel wonders out loud why Dartmouth and Harvard’s
tuition is within $500 of each other when they are both located
in two different states, with two different costs of living.

And don’t get me started on their billion dollar endowments
and their rarely criticized tax exempt status.

I am obsessed with school finance. But, you knew that.
So it was interesting to learn from his book that
U.C. Berkeley used to be free
.
Yes. Cal was tuition free for 100 years. It was only in the
the late 1970’s that Cal instituted in-state tuition.

It wasn’t that long ago — not as long ago as you’d think — that UC Berkeley cost $212.50 a quarter. When it went up to $236, there was serious debate in the Daily Cal as to whether it would cause the unfortunate to drop out, at the least, or cause blood in the streets, at the most.

It’s a quaint story that doesn’t mean much in the post-Proposition 13 world of public education. But these numbers mean something: Spread over 30 years, from 1975-76 to 2004-05, Cal has gone from $637 a year to $6,730, an increase of about 1,060 percent. Then as now, education at the University of California is tuition free for residents, a tradition since 1900 that was reaffirmed in the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education. What students pay are “fees,” a sleight of hand similar to the way executives who are fired have always decided to “spend more time with family.”

CUNY was free until New York’s fiscal crisis in the seventies and the city
and the state decided to charge working and middle class students tuition.
According to Wikipedia,

CUNY has historically served a diverse student body, especially those excluded from or unable to afford private universities. CUNY offered a high quality, tuition-free education to the poor, the working class and the immigrants of New York City until 1975, when the City’s fiscal crisis forced the imposition of tuition. Many Jewish academics and intellectuals studied and taught at CUNY in the post-World War I era when Ivy League universities, such as Yale University, discriminated against Jews.[2] The City College of New York has had a reputation of being “the Harvard of the proletariat.”[3]

Filthy astutly pointed out, that a city that decides to charge
poor and working class students tuition, in the middle of
a recession INSTEAD of charging more to corporations,
is pretty clear about its priorities.

Accessible, high quality k-16 education is
connected to
health of a city, and the health of the
families that reside within
.

Daniel closes his book with a reflection on Thomas Jefferson’s
vision for this country. He writes,

“Jefferson understood that his Aristocratic birth and private eduction had given him the ability to pursue his talents. Cognizant of his good fortune, he understood that a just and dynamic society should not leave th flowering to talent to chance. The gifted, not merely the high born must be able to contribute, both for their own sake and for the sake of society and humanity.”

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College debt makes investment bankers
out of teachers,
social workers and it’s
a problem for all of us.

We need teachers, bankers, lawyers,
filmmakers and social
workers.
They are the thread that hold the cities
together.

New York and SF is looking
at a New Gilded Age and it doesn’t
have to be this way.

We can change it.
They have ideas.

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