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It’s not rocket science

It’s not rocket science
July 25
09:08 2017

When you listen to all the political pundits talking about the problems facing Maine, you have to stop and wonder what our elected officials are actually doing to solve these problems. The answer is simple…. not much.

Here are some facts about Maine:

 

1. Maine has the highest median age (43.5 years old) in the country.

2. Maine is ranked as one of the least business friendly states.

3. Maine can’t keep it’s young innovative minds in the State because it ranks 3rd worst for cost of living.

4. Maine ranks 14th in student loan debt at $30,000 per student. This means just to get a start in adulthood, you already owe the government money.

5. There are always reports about social security running out of money. What?

 

The left says we need to tax people more so we can forgive these student loans and spend more money on education. The right says we already spend too much money and we are taxing people into an early grave. Ultimately this causes the Maine Legislature to fail at life because everyone has their panties in a bunch over party politics and can’t come to an agreement.

 

So what do we do? Is there a plan that could possibly be fiscally conservative yet progressive at the same time? Something that will adequately address many of the issues facing Maine?

 

Of course there is!! And once you read my plan, you can start the round of applause, breathe a sigh of relief, and scream at the top of your lungs, “Hallelujah, someone with some actual solutions.”

 

Let Maine students attend Community College their

 

junior and senior year of High School

 

 

Before you start calling me crazy, let me go into detail why this makes sense to solve a good portion of Maine’s problems. But before I do that, I do need to make one clarifying comment…. this is only for juniors and seniors that qualify. So yes, there is an incentive.

 

As of 2014, Maine was spending $12,707  per pupil per year. This is approximately $1,500 more than the U.S. average. While this might not seem like a lot of money to some people, let’s put this into perspective.

 

Tuition costs at colleges in Maine:

 

University of Maine- Orono:         $8,370

University of Southern Maine:       $8,920

University of Maine- Ft. Kent:        $7,575

Kaplan University- Augusta:          $11,601

Maine Community Colleges:         $3,600  (Yes you read that correctly.)

 

According to the Maine Community College System website Maine’s community colleges offer one of the best educational values around. A two-year associate degree for Maine students averages less than $3,600 a year in tuition and fees, the lowest cost in New England.

 

Why does it cost 3.5 times as much to educate a 17 year old than it does an 18 year old? I know the answer, but I’ll save that can of worms for another time.

 

Now some of you are probably saying, but wait…. high schools already offer students the ability to take college classes (AP). Yes, yes they do. At $12,707 per year , on taxpayer money, when they could be taking the same classes at a community college for $9,000 less. One year of high school spending pays for 2 and a half years at a community college including books.

 

Here is the part that really gets my goat! The first year of college (core requirements) is essentially a review of high school classes…. Freshman English, College Algebra, Western Civilization, Biology, Chemistry. These are classes the students already took (paying double for) and your high school guidance counselor probably failed to mention it.

 

 

Here is what allowing the community college initiative does

 

1. It cuts at minimum $162, 547,944 from the budget each year (based on 12,792 students)

2. Students earn an associates degree by age 18.

3. Solves the college debt problem. If you add in a Federal Pell Grant, potentially three years of college is paid for which reduces student obligation to only 1 year.

4. By getting an earlier start in life, Mainers would pay more money into Social Security which means more money for retirement.

5. Better educated workforce means better paying jobs

6. This should help reduce taxes in the long run.

7. Students will be motivated academically which should equate to higher test scores, better behavior, and will teach the students more about responsibility.

8. It will attract families to move to Maine.

9. If we take the money we would have spent for the senior year of high school and put that into an account to be used for small business loans, you strengthen the middle class by creating more jobs.

10. By creating more jobs, we introduce more tax revenue and reduce welfare spending.

 


So to summarize, this idea lowers debt, lowers taxes, lowers spending, creates jobs, increases education, increases the quality of life, and brings families to Maine whose children want to get ahead in life.

 

If high school students can handle AP classes, they can handle college. We can make America great again, one state at a time. Let’s make this happen.

 

 

 

References:

1.http://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spending-per-pupil-data.html

2. http://www.maine.gov/doe/inside/snapshot.html

3. https://www.mccs.me.edu/admissions-tuition-aid/tuition-aid/tuition-fees/

4.https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/careers/2015/07/05/10-worst-states-to-make-a-living-2015/29626223/ 

 

About Author

Brian Danielson

Brian Danielson

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