One has to laugh when one reads that "liberal, socialist, anti-American, tenured radicals" have taken over American higher education. Actually, our institutions of higher learning are coming more and more under the control of autocratic and bureaucratic administrators, often with backgrounds in business, who are forcing our colleges to adopt a "corporate" model. Some have called this the "Walmartization of higher education." One would think this "business" model would actually please many conservatives!
A look at the facts shows that "tenured" academic positions have become much less common in the last two decades. Statistics show that up to 75 percent of college professors are adjunct instructors with little hope of achieving full-time status with any benefits, much less "tenure". While adjunct instructors may teach the same load as full-time instructors, they are compensated less and some actually qualify for public assistance!
It is no secret that colleges across the country want to eliminate their full-time faculty and to replace them with poorly-compensated adjuncts. Some colleges try to accomplish this through attrition/retirement. In some cases, administrators permit work environments that drive professors to quit or retire early. In other cases, highly competent, long-serving full-time instructors are simply replaced with adjuncts.
While there is certainly a place for adjuncts and many are certainly highly committed educators, the downgrading of full-time positions has negative effects upon higher education. These include less time spent with students and, since adjuncts are often looking for full-time jobs, there is understandably less commitment to the college.
Many perpetuate the myth that college academics — and educators in general — are "underworked and overpaid". This disrespect for the teaching profession is echoed by many politicians as well as by educational bureaucrats, many of whom have spent little time in a classroom but who earn huge salaries because of their "business expertise". The management style of many administrators is "top down" and even autocratic, with little regard for the input of faculty and staff members who for years have served students and built our colleges. In addition, there is a growing trend where the "bottom line", slick salesmanship and appearances are more important than quality. This can only lead to the further "dumbing down" of higher education.
Meanwhile, students pay outrageously high tuition and take out loans they will spend years paying back while the role of the instructor is degraded and the administrators pay themselves larger salaries. This is part of the so-called "business model" in higher education. Some administrators even call students "customers" and courses "products". As in corporate culture, the CEOs and other top managers of our colleges and universities expect salaries much, much higher than the average employee as well as such "perks" as free housing, annuities, club memberships, and company cars. Of course, in some places, the athletic directors and coaches make even more than the administrators!
Three decades ago, it was possible for a student to finance a college education with high school savings, perhaps some family contribution, and student and summer jobs. There was a time when, in some states, community college courses were free or at very low cost.
Those who support this corporate model are going to blame faculty and collective bargaining for the rising cost of education. Administrators often cite a "lack of funding". While it is true that legislatures are giving less to public education it is equally true that more and more administrative staff is being hired at salaries much higher than any instructor. Instead of investing in good faculty, they invest in more educational bureaucrats, buildings or in highly experimental programs designed to turn colleges into "degree mills". While it is public money being used, there is sometimes a woeful lack of oversight. Perhaps tax dollars are being misspent but who is doing the misspending?
And, why do lawmakers not see education and keeping good, loyal instructors as a sound investment? They claim they value education but actions "speak louder than words".
Public education is not a business. It is a service that should be available to all. Education is already free through the university level in many countries. A fraction of what we have spent on the military in the last decade could pay off all student loans and give several years of free higher education for America's students. Surely, quality education is also part of "national security".
(Scott Cracraft is a U.S. citizen, taxpayer, voter, veteran, and resident of Gilford.)
Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2015 08:07
To The Daily Sun,
Sometimes things just need to be addressed out loud, based in principle and truth, to hopefully create a proactive dialogue on how to go about de-escalating a growing problem. This is a condensed version of an article which was sent to elected state and federal officials prior to being sent to the press:
Far too often we are hearing about questionable police actions. That one sentence no doubt has already created an emotional reaction. My only request would be to read this as rationally as possible, do research on your own, and discern for yourself what is right. It should also be made clear that all officers are not acting questionably.
Stories of police coercion, deception, outright lying, intimidation, harassment and overstepping their "authority" are becoming so commonplace that it can be described as cancer: "If you haven't dealt with it yourself, you know someone who has." It's become a semi-silent epidemic.
Some claim cops are arrogant, racist, "trigger happy" or prone to bullying. Others say society has gone nuts and a cop takes his life in his hands when they depart for work each day.
Becoming a police officer is a choice. Like teachers, most go into the field with good intentions (hopefully) yet soon find out that they are just order followers, and their particular principles are not relevant. They are there to follow orders, moral or immoral, just or unjust, logical or not, and soon become jaded. "I don't make the laws, just enforce them" is a common response when a legitimate question is raised.
The driving force behind finally writing this article is an ongoing situation regarding a 28-year-old young man that I know well. In mid-April he was driving home on his motorcycle at 9 p.m. and was pulled over. According to the young man, he was informed it was because the corporal couldn't read his stock license plate from 50 feet away. The police report stated he was pulled over for not signaling while passing a van taking a right turn. The officer smelled alcohol and started the sequence of events for that.
Both parties agree that the officer was informed that this person had sustained a head injury, has a weak right side, speech impediment, etc. The young man was asked to take a breath test, after four separate times blowing into the machine, the highest result was 0.045 which was the only one documented in the report. After being placed in cuffs and while inside the cruiser, the cop suggested taking a blood test. The young man stated that up to this point he had politely done everything that he was asked and would prefer to get along with the night. Four hours later he was allowed to call for a ride. Thirty days later his license was suspended.
After the questionable stop, I can understand the officer's initial suspicion after smelling alcohol. Once being advised of the limitations of a head injury and the breath machine reading a high of 0.045 after four attempts, why continue? More disturbing is the prosecutor continuing on with it.
Possibly it's time for a display of integrity by the department by simply stating: "A mistake was made and has gotten out of hand, please accept our reimbursement for your expenses and your license back."
This has affected members of his family, friends and his job is in jeopardy. The financial expenses incurred to date are in the thousands. It has impacted every area of his life. Liberty to get around doing everyday things has been taken, not to mention the psychological damage to one whom already suffers from brain trauma. This all occurred just for driving home at a decent hour, legally sober on a Friday night through Ossipee.
People hearing of this are in disbelief, although many have a similar story to counter with. My initial statement after hearing this story was, "It's a good thing he is good-natured. Imagine what could have happened if the cop pulled over someone who had just got in a fight with their wife." Had that happened and an altercation resulted, would we have heard the true story? My guess is probably not, and not at all unless it happened between folks of different skin types, the cop lost, or a death.
Should you disagree or think "that would never happen here in New Hampshire", a quick search of the names: Bruce Mckay, Jeremy Charron, Les Lord, and Scott Phillips may help you believe.
The concern is how this cop is able to be cop, judge, jury and executioner; revoking a license based on suspicion. The claim will inevitably arise that he "was just doing his job and the DMV is responsible for taking the license." To both I respond untrue. When one sets motions into action, well aware of the results, that person is responsible. This young man will be without a license for 45 days (assuming the court date isn't postponed) before going in front of a judge. This "sentence" prior to entering a court, was based on opinion and disregard of the only objective assessor, the breath machine. Guilty and sentenced until proven innocent, for real. It's not right or moral, nor is it an isolated incident occurring in the "live free or die" state.
With this system and mentality why do people ask why things are happening the way they are? Until there is a change, incidents like Ferguson and Freddie Gray unfortunately will continue. I believe it is time to start treating all people as though they are people, with dignity, respect and a return to reciprocity and civility. The "us vs. them" mentality is breeding discontent and distrust, making our society a sketchy place to be. ALL officers aren't bad, nor are all people.
The time has passed for ignoring this issue and accepting "that's just the way it is." It's wrong, unjust and immoral.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 June 2015 09:36
To The Daily Sun,
This letter is to thank all the lovely staff at the Belknap County Nursing Home — Administration, Activities, Nursing
and Direct Care, Restorative, Kitchen, Maintenance, and Housekeeping — for all they do, and especially for the wonderful effort they made today to get my husband and other residents down to the parking lot by Route 106 where they could safely view the motorcycles.
It meant a lot to me because my husband always enjoyed watching the bikes and it was so good to see him taking part in watching the parade of two-wheelers again. The residents waved and shouted at the bikes and had a great time!
Belknap County, you are lucky more than you know to have these loving dedicated people serving you. And also
thank you, Charlie St. Clair, for stopping by to say hi to us all.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 June 2015 09:32
To The Daily Sun,
Dennis Prager recently reminded us that progressive liberals hate those who fight evil. The corollary to that is "liberals love those who commit evil".
President Obama, current acting executive director of this infamous club, has been busy with his "Cuba deserves our love and adoration" unilateral policy of appeasement to brutal dictators. Our president arrived in Havana in April for the Summit of the Americas at the ready to bow to another tyrant.
The Castro gang demanded that if the United States wanted to open an embassy in Havana, then they must remove Cuba from the list of terror-sponsoring nations. That would of course open the financial spigot of taxpayer funds to Cuba. The Cuban leadership said, "Don't be ridiculous," when we asked if they would return some of the convicted terrorists on the FBI's most wanted list. Well, after that tough negotiating by Team Obama, Cuba has been removed from that list of terrorist countries.
Who can forget Fidel Castro's comment in May, 2001: "The Islamic Republic of Iran and Cuba can play a significant role in international organizations through cooperation . . . We need to further boost unity to make the big powers understand that the era of bullying has come to an end." There have been reports of Iran allegedly using Cuba's colony of Venezuela as their secret site for enriching uranium, far away from prying eyes. Last month Colombian authorities found 100 tons of gunpowder, 2.6 million detonators, 99 missile heads and over 3,000 artillery shells hidden in a ship bound from Red China to Cuba.
"Two years ago, unregistered Russian missile parts found in a North Korean ship that had just left Stalinist Cuba and was bound for Stalinist North Korea were hidden under sugar sacks", according to Humberto Fontova.
Why has Obama been easing sanctions on Cuba since roughly 2009? Does our president believe that Cuba has earned our money and forgiveness for the easing of its torturous ways? Well, according to Mr. Fontova, who knows more about what is going on in Cuba than most, nothing could be further from the truth. "From 2009 until today, the Cuban people have suffered a wave of terror by their Stalinist oppressors surpassing most of the terror of the past decade, which is really saying something."
Besides the massive number of arrests and detentions by the Cuban police on peaceful Cuban demonstrators, six Cuban dissidents have been murdered — Orlando Zapata, Juan Soto, Laura Pollan, Wilman Villar, Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero.
Is our president not the worst negotiator ever? How is it possible that he loses every negotiation, negatively affecting our security and prosperity? How is it possible that the leaders of Russia, China and Iran are laughing at the fecklessness of Barack Obama? How is it possible that our allies have lost their trust and faith in the United States, no longer holding the belief that Obama will have their back when push comes to shove? Is Barack Obama just inept, or is he purposely bringing this country to its knees, believing it to be racist and evil as told to him by his pastor? Just why do liberal progressives appear to embrace the evil among us while attacking those who go into harm's way to fight evil? I have no idea. How about you?
A hat tip to Humberto Fontova for the above information about Cuba that our mainstream media prefers to keep hidden from sight.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 June 2015 09:27
In recent days, Republicans on the budget Committee of Conference finalized a budget proposal that is unbalanced and dishonest about what it funds. It also includes unpaid-for corporate tax cuts, creating a hole in this budget and in future budgets at the expense of critical economic priorities. For these reasons and more, I will veto their budget if it reaches my desk.
What this means is that the legislature needs to return to work immediately, prepare a continuing resolution that will fund state government in the short-term, and get back to the table and negotiate in good faith to develop a bipartisan budget that is fiscally responsible and that supports the priorities needed to keep New Hampshire's economy moving forward.
To keep our economy moving in the right direction, I proposed a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that was transparent and honest about how we would support critical economic priorities without an income or a sales tax. The plan that I proposed clearly set those economic priorities, including making higher education more affordable, strengthening public safety, ensuring access to affordable health care, and repairing our roads and bridges.
I have been at the table with Republican leadership and have been clear throughout the budget process about how we can achieve a bipartisan budget that addresses our shared priorities. Unfortunately, Republican leadership has refused to compromise on any of the major issues — most critically on a responsible way to pay for their unfunded tax cuts for mostly big corporations.
Instead, their fiscally irresponsible approach undermines our economic future by giving unpaid-for tax cuts to big corporations, mostly headquartered out-of-state, that will create a hole in this budget and a more than $90 million hole in future budgets. It puts big, out-of-state corporate interests ahead of New Hampshire's families, small businesses and economy, and only one percent of businesses – many of which are large multi-state corporations – would receive more than 75 percent of the benefits from the proposed rate reduction.
The Republican budget also fails to reauthorize our bipartisan health care expansion plan, even though leaders from both parties, the business community and the health care industry agree that it has been successful. This leaves more than 40,000 hard-working Granite Staters at risk of losing their coverage and creates uncertainty for all businesses and consumers.
And the Republican budget fails to live up to the fair contract negotiated in good faith with our dedicated public employees.
At the same time, the Republican budget is left unbalanced by relying on misleading budget gimmicks. It uses money from fiscal year 2015 that is already designated to pay this year's bills, and it does not honestly fund the services we all agree are essential to our people, families and businesses.
Without a plan for how we would pay for Republicans' corporate tax cuts now and in the future, we cannot sufficiently support the shared priorities that we all agree on. These are the priorities that are critical to our small businesses and families, and they are the priorities that businesses tell me are critical to their ability to grow, to thrive and to create jobs.
While maintaining our low-tax environment — which the Tax Foundation ranked as the seventh-best in the country in its business tax climate index — is critical, low taxes alone will not move our economy forward. We must also continue supporting priorities such as a strong and healthy workforce, a modern transportation infrastructure, and safe communities. Nothing in my budget proposal would jeopardize New Hampshire's status as having one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation, but unlike the Republican budget, it responsibly and transparently supports critical economic priorities.
By failing to pay for their corporate tax cuts, the Republican budget is setting our state on a perilous fiscal path. It will make college tuition more expensive. It will hurt our ability to ensure that workers can access health care without financial ruin. It will lead to unplowed, unsafe roads for commuters and businesses. And it will not adequately address substance misuse even as we are in the midst of a heroin crisis.
Our families deserve better. Our businesses deserve better. And the hard-working people of the Granite State deserve better.
Republicans need to join me in putting New Hampshire's families, businesses and economic interests first, and I invite them to join me and follow the example of the people of New Hampshire, who work together to improve their communities every day. That's what Granite Staters deserve from their elected leaders.
(Democrat Maggie Hassan of Exeter is the governor of New Hampshire.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00