Attendance at Americas most elite colleges is inherited benefit

To The Daily Sun,

In 1643, Harvard College sent what might be called the first fundraising brochure to England seeking money to expand. It said, we built our homes, built our churches, and settled civil government, now we must provide for ways to advance learning to perpetuate posterity. Americas early and lasting enthusiasm for higher education has given it the biggest, best funded and most expensive system in the world. Now, grave concerns have arisen whether the cost is really worth it. The world is now trying to force students through the college process if it were a meat grinder. Demand for higher education has grown faster than demand for a new car. The enrollment ratio of college age students has increased from 14 percent to 32 percent in the past 20 years. The world and America has convinced itself the only path to the middle class is with a degree.

The world has two systems of higher education: The European model where colleges and universities share equal funding from state sources, and all have similar status. The second system is the American, market-based model where most funding is a mix of private (tuitions) and public funds where status is not equal, where there is a clear-cut delineation between top flight, elite colleges, the middle, and the bottom of the heap.

Costs for higher education are rising at incredible speeds around the globe sucking up ever higher percentages of GDP. The average is now 1.6 percent, up from 1.3 percent little more than a decade ago. America has the highest percentage at 2.7 percent. Tuition fees and education costs in general have run almost twice the rate on inflation for the last 20 years. The belief that throwing more money will get a better product has proved an illusion, especially in public grade schools. Student debt sits at record levels along with defaults on that debt now well over $1 trillion.

If we were getting our money's worth there would be little concern. On the research side America does seem to be getting good value. Last year 19 of the 20 universities that produced the most highly cited research papers were American. But on the education side the picture is far more gloomy.

The performance of American students on international tests like PISA demonstrate mixed results at best, where Asian countries continually outperform in high paying STEM pursuits. Another dire signal, employers continually complain graduates are poorly educated to perform the complex work they require. Education continually produces a mismatch with critical job skills. There are few openings for Greek philosophers, but we keep turning them out. "Sacking" unionized Greek teaching college professors is no easy task.

A recent study suggests 45 percent of college students made zero gains in learning during the first two years of college. Consider the billions of absolute waste in that math calculation all while colleges simply refuse to do the hard work of figuring out how to reduce and control costs the way private enterprise does. Parents should be outraged at colleges refusal to control costs.

In truth America has turned higher education into nothing but a very high cost "sorting machine". Recent top recruitment professionals say most often students from the best schools get the best jobs not because they are the smarter, but because the schools they got into have such rigorous acceptance procedures. In other words it isn't the student's work that becomes his or her ticket to success. It is the college he or she attended that guarantees it. Most colleges have become mass market meat grinders of education dilution to satisfy an insatiable demand for what is often a mirage to the middle class. For an ever increasing number, it is an unforgivable financial nightmare into hell.

Attendance at Americas most elite colleges has become an inherited benefit of the privileged aristocracy. Income and wealth inequality "begin" with education. Education stokes inequality's as surly and effectively as capitalism does, if not more. One statistic tells all. Sixteen percent of students now attending Harvard are the children of former graduates of Harvard. Harvard says it only uses this connection to sort tied tests scores. Who believes that when the parent donated $20 million to the Harvard endowment fund. Inherited great wealth all begins with "education" offering special privilege to a select few.

Tony Boutin


  • Category: Letters
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Religious leaders have shown no backbone during Indiana crisis

To The Daily Sun,

The owners of the pizza shop in a small town in Indiana have more courage than most of the religious church leaders in this country.

What a disgrace you people are. Your silence is as bad as if you were denying Jesus. People of religious conviction should not be forced by government "boot on the neck" to violate the tenants of their faith, or have to defend themselves against atheist secular progressives, who are looking for phony hypotheticals in order to further corrupt the culture.

Notice to all you religious cowards: If you don't begin to show some spine, like Jesus did in the Temple, you will continue to lose your "flocks" to the "prince of darkness" of this broken world.

You had better start speaking out before you are left all alone.

Jim McCoole

  • Category: Letters
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Deplorable how our government has abandoned Amir Hekmati

To The Daily Sun,

Amir Hekmati, a former Marine and decorated war veteran, was born in Arizona and raised in Michigan. Within weeks of setting foot in Iran for the first time in August 2011 to visit his grandmother, he was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned. Months later he appeared on Iranian TV, forced to confess he was a CIA operative.

The U.S. State Department denies he was spying for the U.S. government and calls the case a gross miscarriage of justice. While Amir languishes in prison, his health deteriorating, and his father dying of cancer, his family pleads with the Iranian government to let him go free.

I implore all of you reading this to write to your federal representatives and ask them to work toward the release of this good man. That he was detained was unacceptable. That he has been there, this long, without any help from our government is deplorable.

Hillary Seeger


  • Category: Letters
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These are not evergy issues at all; N.H. is already a net producer

To The Daily Sun,

New Hampshire is dealing with three major corporate industrial energy fronts oppressing the people of this fine state. Canada's Northern Pass transmission line, overseas foreign industrial wind projects, and Kinder Morgan's out-of-state fracked gas pipelines are converging upon us all at once. The people of the state of New Hampshire are divided over these projects. Even our lawmakers, both local and those in Concord, are divided. The corporate industrial energy industry is thrilled. It's called divide and conquer.

This is my observation: Northern Pass would establish an improved transmission infrastructure needed to handle additional industrial wind projects. Kinder Morgan's Northeast Energy Direct (NED) fracked gas pipeline across southern New Hampshire would eventually help to provide needed baseload power to back up all the intermittent producing industrial wind projects eying our ridgelines. Then there is the goal to shut down our current baseload producers such as coal and nuclear power plants — possibly even our smaller hydro and biomass producers — hence the demand for even more fracked gas throughout the state of New Hampshire. All three of these for-profit, corporate industrial energy industries benefit from each other at our expense.

Northern Pass, overseas foreign industrial wind, and Kinder Morgan's NED out-of-state fracked gas pipeline industries would like you to believe these are energy issues — this is not an energy issue at all. New Hampshire is already a net producer of energy without any of these projects.

Not one of these projects is "needed" for New Hampshire. So, what are these energy projects really about? These energy projects are about large, corporate industries lining their pockets with profits paid from our tax dollars. But more than that, they are about who has more rights to decide what happens where you live — you, a corporation, a state agency or federal agency? This is a democracy issue!

The communities affected by Northern Pass, Industrial Wind, or NED overwhelmingly oppose the projects directly threatening their health, safety and welfare. Yet, even as sovereign people with inherent and unalienable rights defined within our local ordinances, as well as our state and federal constitutions, a state agency known as the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and a federal agency known as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have final authority in granting permits that legalize these harmful, for-profit, corporate industrial projects against the will of the people.

If that isn't bad enough, I have noticed those that oppose one type of corporate industrial harm encourage another so long as it does not directly affect their own community. Seriously? All of these energy industries affect every single community in the state of New Hampshire whether they are located in your town or not.

We, the people of New Hampshire, are all in this together. We are playing into the "divide and conquer" strategy of these corporate energy industries by dividing our opposition. United we stand. Divided we fall.

Michelle Sanborn


  • Category: Letters
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Free montly dinners in Meredith moving to the Community Center

To The Daily Sun,

The Altrusa Club of Meredith has been fortunate and is grateful to have been able to use the kitchen and hall of the First Congregational Church to serve dinners. From our first effort in September of 2013, Pastor Russ Rowland has been an enthusiastic supporter of our efforts and the church has been very generous in allowing us to take over the space on so many evenings.

We thank Pastor Rowland and the church most warmly for lending us an inviting space, giving encouragement and helping to spread the news about our project.

We will be moving to the Meredith Community Center in April, thanks to the cooperation of town Parks and Recreation Director Vint Choiniere, and the Community Center staff.

The club will now be able to cook onsite in a large kitchen complete with freezer and storage space. We will have more parking and easier access for our guests of all abilities. We are also making this a year-round project, rather than "closing" for the summer months.

Dinners will now be on the fourth Wednesday of the month. We hope that you will plan to join us on Wednesday, April 22, for our Community Center debut.

The dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and attendees may begin arriving at 5 to visit and enjoy a cup of coffee. Space is limited so please call to save your seat.

The meal is free of charge. However, donations are gratefully accepted and will be used to help fund future dinners. All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information, please call me at 279-9918.

Alison Newton

Altrusa of Meredith Community Dinner Outreach Program

  • Category: Letters
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