Wednesday, December 22, 2004

More of the same

Third Presidential Debate, Oct. 13th, 2004:

SCHIEFFER: Let's go to a new question, Mr. President. Two minutes. And let's continue on jobs.

You know, there are all kind of statistics out there, but I want to bring it down to an individual.

Mr. President, what do you say to someone in this country who has lost his job to someone overseas who's being paid a fraction of what that job paid here in the United States?

BUSH: I'd say, Bob, I've got policies to continue to grow our economy and create the jobs of the 21st century. And here's some help for you to go get an education. Here's some help for you to go to a community college.

We've expanded trade adjustment assistance. We want to help pay for you to gain the skills necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century.

You know, there's a lot of talk about how to keep the economy growing. We talk about fiscal matters. But perhaps the best way to keep jobs here in America and to keep this economy growing is to make sure our education system works.

I went to Washington to solve problems. And I saw a problem in the public education system in America. They were just shuffling too many kids through the system, year after year, grade after grade, without learning the basics.

And so we said: Let's raise the standards. We're spending more money, but let's raise the standards and measure early and solve problems now, before it's too late.

No, education is how to help the person who's lost a job. Education is how to make sure we've got a workforce that's productive and competitive.

Got four more years, I've got more to do to continue to raise standards, to continue to reward teachers and school districts that are working, to emphasize math and science in the classrooms, to continue to expand Pell Grants to make sure that people have an opportunity to start their career with a college diploma.

And so the person you talked to, I say, here's some help, here's some trade adjustment assistance money for you to go a community college in your neighborhood, a community college which is providing the skills necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century. And that's what I would say to that person.


About 90,000 students could be disqualified from receiving Pell Grants and other forms of federal and state financial aid under a change, scheduled to be issued on Thursday by the U.S. Education Department, in the formula the government uses to calculate a student's need for aid.

The department plans to announce in the Federal Register that it is, for the first time in a decade, updating the amount it forgives most families for their state and local tax payments when determining how much income the families have left over to pay college costs.

According to an analysis by the American Council on Education, about 1.3 million students and their families will see their eligibility for federal financial aid drop next year, when the formula change takes effect, because the new formula will show them to have more money available for college than before. The families of some of the 90,000 students disqualified from Pell Grants could also appear to be rich enough under the change, according to the council, that they will be ineligible for state and institutional aid as well.


Over the last several weeks, Bush-administration officials had been cagey about whether they were going to exercise the authority they had been given. Lobbyists were not surprised that the department's leaders decided to announce the change two days before Christmas.

"It's not unusual for federal agencies to release unpleasant news when people aren't paying attention," said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education.

(Courtesy Suburban Guerrilla)


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