40 Days for the Children (Day 3)

(Crossposted at the Appalachian Voices' blog)Things are swingin for Ed in the "serious backroadage" of West Virginia as he makes his trip from The WV capitol of Charleston to Washington DC. Visit our friends at Pennies of Promise to learn more about Ed and why any grandfather would walk 455 miles in the heat of summer so that his grandkids can have a safe place to go to school!<u>Please</u&gt, everyone help get Grandpa Ed some attention by RECOMMENDING his story. His granddaughter, along with dozens of others, is sick from a coal silo less than 300 feet from their school, which sits directly below a 2.8 billion gallon sludge dam. They have been ignored for 2 years, now this grandfather is walking 455 miles in the heat of summer so that his granddaughter can have a safe place to go to school. Learn more at Appalachian Voices and Pennies of Promise

Here's the word from the road... Pass it on!

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Cost Keeps 600,000/Year From 4-Year College

The Campaign for America's Future, a Washington-based policy group, estimates that some 200,000 Americans are being priced out of college education annually. Tuition at four-year colleges alone has climbed 40 percent since 2001.

``One in five students say student debt impacts their job choice,'' says Tamara Draut, author of ``Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead.'' ``It's an economic competitiveness argument. We need to continue to make progress on higher education.''

Instead of making a direct investment in human capital, Congress chose to cut student aid in the most recent federal budget by $12 billion while interest charged on student loans climbed 2 percentage points July 1 -- the largest increase in history.

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Rationing the Tickets to a Better Life...

We often refer to America as the land of opportunity. Talk to everyone who's made it and he'll tell you that it is so. No surprise there. I don't know if it's easier to make it today than it was in the "good ol' days", but I do know one way to improve your lot is through education. Statistically--you know those numbers that reveal what happens to most people--more Americans are working longer hours, have less job security, are more likely to be uninsured, and they can earn 73% more money over a working lifetime if they have a higher education degree!

As of July 1st, the cost of attending college got more expensive. OK, everything gets more expensive over time, but the question is whether the new pricing system of and the access to higher ed will prevent people from earning a degree. I assume if the economic pressures on the individual and the family become greater this task would also become harder. Actual family income has fallen. Sure certain consumer items have become cheaper, but the cost of living as relating to the money people make has been rising faster than their earning power.

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Time to fight the ex-gay madness

Cross-posted at Creative Trouble!

To me, this photo of Alan Chambers, President of leading ex-gay group Exodus International, and his wife, which accompanied yesterday's Los Angeles Times story on the new push for "equal time" for ex-gay viewpoints in schools, says it all:

This is the desire for normalcy at its worst. And this is the face of a movement that truly threatens to turn back gains made in schools over the years. This bullshit needs to be taken on in every school board across America. These programs are so psychologically unsound and so unsafe that they cannot possibly be considered healthy.

It's high time a new push was made to get queer issues addressed in middle and high schools across the nation. Where they're not addressed, we need to work hard to get them included in health/safe-sex curricula as well as highlight, as California may soon do, the contributions of gays and lesbians in history (expect this to be the subject of another post). Where queer issues are addressed, we need to pre-emptively defend them against ex-gay challenges. The 3,000 Gay-Straight Alliances around the country seem perfectly positioned to lead this fight. We have to recognize that it's not enough just to have a support group in a school, and that it's not enough to have a day of SILENCE once a year. The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) should organize students in GSAs to start organizing parents and each other, and become true forces for change in their communities.

We should not be timid or afraid of appearing to push too strongly a "gay agenda" - for unless we do, the ex-gay agenda will destroy much of the already incredible progress we've made in schools, which would be a disaster for the LGBT movement.

Cross-posted at Creative Trouble!

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Bridging the Economic - Education Divide

Higher education will be the cornerstone of a successful future for the current and future students of Ohio. In the modern economy, a high school graduate is not prepared to enter the work force without the advanced skills gained from post-secondary training.  Thus it is imperative that the State of Ohio undergoes every effort to ensure that those qualified and willing to attend Ohio's colleges and universities are able to financially do so.

However, Ohio policy has been quite to the contrary. The percentage of the budget allocated towards higher education has dropped from 17.7 in 1979 to 11.7 in 2005. This is during a period in which the necessity of higher education has increased immensely.

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