Last month, the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Renewing America initiative published a progress report and scorecard on federal education policy, providing striking comparisons between the US system and those found in other developed nations. The report sheds light on the grimmest details of federal education policy and the shortcomings that led to the nation’s decline in worldwide educational rankings.
I recently read an interesting article by David Brooks called “The Education Gap.” Published in The New York Times on September 25, 2005, Brooks talks about the ability of colleges to address the inequities between poverty and wealth. He points out the fact that only 28 percent of Americans have college degrees but that most of those with degrees find themselves in social situations where almost everybody has been to college.
The Pell Grant, originally known as the Basic Education Opportunity Act, was created in 1972 to support the postsecondary educational needs of the country’s least advantaged students. The original maximum amount for Pell Grant recipients was $452. In 1980, the program was renamed the Pell Grant in honor of Senator Claiborne Pell and his initiatives in creating the program.
Last night, President Obama delivered an address to the nation. He focused on the state of the economy and his administration’s plans for the economic future of our country focusing on energy, healthcare, and education. I thought I would examine his plans for education as it relates to higher education and compare them to the public policy initiatives and thought pieces that have previously been published.
On Monday, December 15, fifteen higher ed associations sent a letter to Congress asking that a portion of the Obama economic stimulus plan be allocated to higher education. The letter indicates that 18 million Americans are attending higher education institutions, and since 18 million represents six percent of all Americans, a corresponding six percent of the allocation should go to higher ed.