Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Education president, my ass.

In this morning's New York Times, they ran a story on Steve Stanzak, an NYU Creative Writing student who claims to have been living in a subbasement of the library because he couldn't afford university dorm housing, much less an apartment in New York. I believe it. When I was looking into grad programs at NYU, even university housing ran over a thousand dollars a month.

This is yet another demonstration that America is failing its students. It's one thing to deny a student to a university due to his academics not being a good fit – if you don't have the grades to get into the Ivy League, it's too bad, but you had control over that – but if you just don't have the cash, that's where the government should step in. And not just to the tune of a federal loan, either. I'm talking reasonably deciding what the person needs. The government needs to do the math to calculate what a realistic living expense is for those conditions and then step up. A student should be able to enroll in the best school they are able to be accepted into, regardless of financial status. That's how, as a country, we defeat international competitors like Japan. Our "education president" needs to put his money where his mouth is. At the moment, he's going down in history as the president who gave the finger to the United Nations and hauled our country into a second Vietnam in order to look good for daddy.


I wonder if Mr. Stanzak would have had this same problem if he'd been a math major, or an engineering major, instead of doing a "fluffy" major like creative writing. Or, for that matter, if he'd been African-American. Or even a woman. Instead, he's a white male from a divorced family somewhere, and his only "minority" spin is that he's gay, which, of course, under this administration wins you zero points.

Of course, there is some speculation as to whether or not Mr. Stanzak's story is actually true. Check out the story and decide for yourself: The New York Times > New York Region > Yes, Some Students Live in the Library (But Not Like This). One way or the other, we've got to see some major improvements in the education system in this country. I wonder if Kerry will do anything to fix that.


His story is absolutely true. The university has provided free housing once they became aware of the situation and has not guaranteed anything for next year, but did say that they will try to find a solution for this student for the future. It's been kind of a big deal at school lately...

Sorry, but this guy had options other than NYU. He should have known going in that he could not afford to attend this school. There are thousands of other colleges out there where he could have afforded to live in a dorm. So now, the school, i.e., the current and future students are supposed to support this guy?!! Come on, give me a break.........

One more thing. Why should my tax dollars go to support this guy going to a school he can't afford? Your theory that the government should bail him out is just not feasible. Where does it stop? Why doesn't the "government" i.e., tax paying citizens, just give everyone a paycheck whether they work or not? Oh wait, they already do.

Actually, I both agree and disagree with you. Our current welfare system, where we're just paying people to have babies, is a huge problem. We have a compounding problem in this country of the educated population dwindling (i.e., those of us with college educations tend to wait longer to have fewer children) while the population of the working class skyrockets with every passing generation. As manufacturing technology progresses, we tend to lose the need for the high numbers of working-class industrial laborers that we required a few generations ago, and as military technology improves we even lose the need for cannon fodder foot soldiers. What we need now are more educated individuals working to develop new technologies and businesses that we can export to the rest of the world.

In short, I think we should cut back on the amount of free meals that we hand out to those people who are unwilling to really muster up the drive to improve themselves, and give that money to the people who have the drive but currently lack the finanical resources.

From a practical, cynical point of view, welfare is a system to keep the workers sated, preventing a real class war akin to the French revolution. The trouble with that, as pointed out by books such as Nickel and Dimed, is that the current minimum wage just isn't enough. Tensions are rising among the working classes, and our current administration is doing nothing to ease those concerns. If anything, they're making it worse.

The way I see it, true class tension escalates when the working classes begin to feel that they have no way to ever improve their standard of living. People can work their fingers to the bone at Wal-Mart and never make enough to ever change anything. Run the numbers!

Now, I don't advocate raising the minimum wage any more than we have to. I think we should try to deter people from staying in those dead-end jobs by making a welfare-subsidized existence untenable, but also open the way out as wide as possible. Theoretically, by slashing the costs of higher education and keeping the undriven life more difficult, we can help kick-start this country's progress again, instead of constantly growing fatter and lazier. If that means we need to increase taxes to subsidize higher education, that's fine by me, but if we increase taxes in order to subsidize more people sitting on their asses to watch Oprah and breed, that's where I draw the line.

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