Posts Tagged ‘students’

Recently, I was listening to a CNN report on short sales of homes.  Basically, the bank decides to take a payoff short of the current debt amount on a property.  The adjustment reflects the reality of the economy, job market, and housing crisis.  The federal government should consider a short sale program for student loans with the borrower buying the adjusted debt from himself and the fed eating the loss. 

For example, a student borrowed 20K but the interest has ballooned (forbearance and Income Contingent Repayment) 35K.  The fed eats 15K and the student get a short sale new loan of 20K with a low interest rate.  However, the student is not allow to get new debt (car, boat, house, kids) above the 20K amount until the student loan is repaid. Okay, this is not China so I can say kids.  

While the job market is down, people are staying in school to live off student loans but the mountain of debt is growing. Everyone I know has an advance degree that qualifies us to be unemployed.  Middle class is about an income amount; not your education level or the ability to discuss wine, jazz and global warming.  Hiatus…Sabbatical… Blank, please.  You are just plain old unemployed. You are writing a book.  You need to be concerned with your checkbook.    

Short sales


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The editor of the Albany (Georgia) Herald newspaper made some good points yesterday on the silliness of twisting President Obama’s speech to students into an effort to indoctrinated the youth.  Then, Thomas L. Friedman, my favorite economist, did the same thing on Meet the Press.  To be fair, Obama Green Jobs guy was equally silly for siding in the past with those who thought President Bush knew about the 911 attacks in advance.

Speaking of 911, where was President Bush when he actually learned about those horrible events?  He was sitting on a stage in a Florida elementary school reading the book “My Pet Goat” to kids.  This silly season stuff is starting to get my goat. 

Elected officials, bureaucrats and congressional staff should make themselves more available to speak to kids about the function and limited role of government because governmental decisions will affect their futures. 

I have a friend who teaches high school government/history and he is always asking me when am I coming to “drop knowledge” on his students.  I politely defer to the current congressional staffers who have that covered like a blanket but if I work in that capacity in the future, I would roll up my sleeves, loosen my tie and let them know that respectfully questioning and monitoring the government is vital and patriotic.  If talking with the public about the federal government was the only thing I did for the rest of my life that would be a full life.

For example, some young cats in my community once asked why the congressmen and senators were always talking about agriculture when nobody cares about that around here.  I told them that the only people who should care about agriculture were those people who want to eat safe food, drink clean water and breathe fresh air.  The local school system is funded in large part by the taxes on farmland and farmers and their workers are a big part of who spends money shopping and dining in the larger regional hub city.

We are “involved” in the Middle East because we have become dependent on foreign oil but the ag industry is making advancements on renewable energy sources that can be grown here—our cousins can come back from the dangerous war zone because the farmers and producers are on their games. 

On the other hand, speakers in schools must regulate what they really want/need to say: don’t have children before you can afford them and expect the government to provide for them—that simple is not right.  Also, don’t lust for material things so much that you will commit crimes to get those unimportant things.  Yes, those talks should come from home and church first.

As Thomas Friedman wrote his classic book “The World Is Flat,” school kids are fully focused and hungry for opportunity around the world while some American students are becoming weaker, softer, and more complacent.  Somebody needs to talk with them other than MTV and BET because if they are reached early enough and wisdom sinks into their heads, we could save billions currently spent on nonsense.   

I am still waiting for the Black moderate to conservative who will serve in congress and have no problems “getting on” the community about what we need to do to function better.  Any sitting American president should make those “real talk” speeches without reservations.  


Meet the Press segment


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  1. Your job is being a student.  While you might work for pocket money and experience in your field, be fully invested in learning, thinking and retaining.
  2. Don’t get caught up with the lust for silver, gold and nice things—ie. apartments and cars.  It is called delayed gratification and it’s the reason the best students across the nation often graduate with a wardrobe of one interview suit, one blue blazer, three pairs of chinos and five pairs of well-worn jeans.  It is hard for students who did not grow-up with nice things to avoid the bling of music videos during school but it is better to remain fully focused of the primary objective of education.
  3. Stay in the Dorm: many people who didn’t finish college lost focus when they moved into an apartment and stop functioning like a full-time student who works a little and became a worker who goes to college a little. Dorm life today is not like the jail cells in the old school.  Today, the dorms are like apartments with kitchens and living rooms. 
  4. From the dorm, do everything.  Since you have paid your student activity fees, do all the activities, listen to every speaker from Desmond Tutu to David Duke,  and attend every sporting event, theater play and free concert time will permit. 
  5. Network like crazy to get a comfort level with a range of people (which will help in professional life.)  Students should stay up late debating the issues of the day, attend a local church and network with locals leaders in their fields.
  6. Know your field: How can business majors not read the WSJ and I dare one to ask what is the WSJ. Can a polly sci major not name the U.S. Senators from the contiguous states?
  7. Live in the Library: While the internet has change the resources game, I was in the library, cafeteria or class from 8 to 5 five days a week.  The same dark area in the stacks section was my office and if my reading and assignments were done, I would read the AJC and the journals from my field. Study breaks were spent learned what was hot in their fields from other majors.
  8. Wine, Women and Song were key to the college experience for the big men on campus while Beer, Babes, and Beats better described my after hours campus life.  If you really love a sweetheart and want to marry her after school, can you say that she is who you want “forsaken all others” after you start making money and rolling in the new E-Class Benz.  Sisters, if dude really loves your heart and mind, will he still love you when your Coke bottle figure turns into a two liter jug. On alcohol, don’t mix the type drinks in one day.  If you are drinking beer that day, beer is the drink for that day—no spring break exceptions.  Remember the sage advice of the Irish poet: drinking the first one, sip the second one and skip the third one. If I knew this in school, I would be on the Supreme Court but you can be a lawyer if you can’t pass the bar.  (Pun intended.)
  9. Retain the information covered in class…forever.  The motto of my college national honor society (a party guy rocking a 3.6 GPA…go figure) was: I make not my mind a grave but a community of knowledge.  The credibility of some colleges is questioned when grads butch grammar constantly.  Your diploma means the information covered in your program should be in your mind years later.
  10. College is formal education, which correctly implies that a person without a college degree but with years of experience in the same field acquired the same education informally over time and should be respected for their wisdom.  For example, I once asked my students in a job training program who had more education: Michael Jackson with no college or me with three college degrees.  Of course, they wrongly said me before I explained that I studied concepts in class that Michael learned in the real world of business; places I studied, Jackson had visited; and I studied budgeting while Michael met a million dollar payroll monthly.  On the other hand, my informal education from growing up in the country told me not to think about the stuff that got Michael in trouble. 
  11. Don’t sleep on the military experience as education: How many times have we seen a local person go into the military after high school and became better educated from service experience, travel, diverse exposure and global networking than his buddies who when to college and the information went in one ear and out the other.
  12. Important Classes: English is big because professionals must write and speak well. (They need to have a class about looking and acting like a professional rather than a club thug or shake dancer…have you seen some of these young teachers lately.)  Psychology class helps in life because understand your mind and the minds of others is vital in organizational behavior and management.  Economics could be the number one class for all college students because people must grasp the difference between making money and using money.  In south Georgia, many national plant workers made great incomes for years but found themselves broke when the plant left town.  College grads or people with a few years college on the same production lines better understood wealth-building and complexities of the industry; people who saved and spent based on the market indicators they learned in Econ class. 
  13. Better Life in College: It is hard being “grown” with real world responsibilities like babies and mortgages so why not take a few years in college, the armed services or both to better understand who you are as a person and what the world has to offer.  Real talk: in the 80s at regional Georgia colleges, the Black students were sometimes the only students in the dorm on the weekend. While White and Black students from well-off families jumped in their cars to go home for jet-skis, the family business, pools, golf courses and hunting, many of the Black students found life on campus (meal plan, air-conditioning, manicured grounds) better than home.  And you live in a building with 500 members of the opposite sex while at home you sleep three deep with your little brothers who wets the bed.
  14. Planning: Life is a series of phases with this phase relating to the next phase—act deliberately.  Some people wait until they are 23 years old before making life-altering decisions.  Wise college students listen to chatty old heads who recommend getting wiser first.  While you think you know everything in your late teens, the more you learn the more you realize what you don’t know.
  15. Learn from your fellow students: True story. While attending the community college in Albany, Georgia, I told two 40-year-old men that they were foolish for coming to college in the morning after working all night at the Firestone Tire Plant.  Their incomes were higher than our PhD professors. In the student center, one of them put his huge hand on my shoulder and said, “First of all, call me foolish again and see what happens.”  I said, “sorry, man” like a little punk but I wrong and they big tire building dudes.  I was thinking “gimme three steps and you will never see me no more.” Old dude smiled and said he wanted all of us young bucks to hear this.  He said he worked to provide for his family whom he loved but he did not love his work and it wasn’t the type work an aging person should do.  He bought and paid for a modest house, saved his money and came to college so he could spend the last part of his work life helping kids through coaching the same way coaches helped him.  I said thank you for sharing that knowledge and wisdom and I would appreciate you taking that giant hand off my shoulder now.  Four months later, the closing of the Firestone plant was announced and those two gentlemen were viewed as visionaries on campus because they were ahead of the game and wise in their actions.  It is my understanding that both guys become middle school coaches a few years later.
  16. Graduate from somebody’s college ASAP: As kids, we all wanted to attend D-1 universities, a major Black college or maybe an Ivy but life is what happens after you make other plans.  Get in and out of undergrad quickly before family and other important things come. 
  17. The Audacity of Dope: Just say no to drugs; that liquor is bad enough.

All of this stuff is just my opinion and I am frequently wrong; comments and additional views that would be beneficial to the young folks in the community are more than welcomed.  Did anyone actually read all of this stuff?

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