Spreadin’ Love 474

The Atlantic Wire and Megan McArdle linked to our post on college expenses. (Thanks, guys!)

Mark Zuckerberg donates $100 million to Newark schools. There are some strings on the money, including merit pay and increasing the number of charter schools. Michelle Rhee is reportedly involved. A longer post will happen later today. 

I love this hallway.

I really want to see "Waiting for Superman."  Here's the trailer.

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9 thoughts on “Spreadin’ Love 474

  1. The hallway article was good, ’cause it gave a budget and also talked about the complicated relationship between the designer and the client.

  2. I thought the McArdle post was one of the most insightful things I’ve read on her blog in months. I was really impressed by Megan’s theory that colleges have been able to capture more of their graduates’ future earnings because of the students’ (and their parents’) ability to borrow for tuition. Separate that from nit-picks about government subsidization of those loans and/or grants and it explains a whole lot.
    Future college expenses make us feel more pinched–and indeed red-faced ranting angry when it comes to my own alma mater–than any other item on Amy P’s list yesterday. We’ve been saving for kids’ college funds since we got engaged, and I still worry we’ll be wiped out.

  3. I’m happy if a discussion on this blog, spurs further conversation in the blogosphere. I like debate. I like debate more than I like to read people that I always agree with.
    I agree w/MM that there are institutions that robbing kids and their clueless parents blind. Fancy schools, banks, and all that. It’s criminal that a 21 year old is saddled with a six figure student loan bill. Even 40 thou in loans reduces the freedom of 21 year old to spend a year teaching in Newark or to try painting for a year. I see kids who go to very mediocre private colleges around here, when they can actually get a better education at a public school. Their parents don’t know how the system works.
    The solution isn’t, of course, to eliminate the student loan programs. The solution is make the public school system even better and to encourage students to attend them with incentive packages.

  4. “I was really impressed by Megan’s theory that colleges have been able to capture more of their graduates’ future earnings because of the students’ (and their parents’) ability to borrow for tuition.”
    Yes, that was very good. Note the resemblance to the housing market, where during the boom, home prices soared, soaking up the buyer’s potential benefit from future inflation, higher future salary, rental income, or renovations.
    “We’ve been saving for kids’ college funds since we got engaged, and I still worry we’ll be wiped out.”
    My husband’s in higher education, so there’s a chance of a tuition break for our kids, but I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch, so I think we ought to make some effort to save. In any case, there might be medical school or some other major thing that we’d want to help with (I think my five-year-old would be a fantastic doctor). We haven’t really started saving for college yet, since house downpayment and retirement savings are more urgent. Who knows what a hip replacement will cost in 2060? I think we’ll manage college with two kids, but if our family grew much more, it would be prohibitive.

  5. “I see kids who go to very mediocre private schools around here, when they can actually get a better education at a public school. Their parents don’t know how the system works.”
    I’ve probably mentioned this before, but outside the NE corridor, few people know that Rutgers is not a fancy pants private school.
    I think there’s a sort of geographical myopia where parents and kids don’t realize that while everybody has heard of University of Washington and knows that it’s a big deal, outside Washington State, nobody thinks Pacific Lutheran is hot stuff. I had the amusing experience myself of going to University of Southern California (an expensive private school) and discovering that outside California, almost everybody hears “USC” and assumes it’s part of the UC public system.
    Also, as I think I mentioned in a previous thread, the scholarship packages can be enticing to families that think they’re getting a smoking deal on private college.
    “The solution isn’t, of course, to eliminate the student loan programs. The solution is make the public school system even better and to encourage students to attend them with incentive packages.”
    The incentive (which is already there) is that it’s cheaper to go public unless you get a really good deal at a private college. Price insensitivity caused by the easy availability of loans has helped cause the problem of college debt, but I think families are in the process of wising up, which is why this subject has been coming up a lot.

  6. I see kids who go to very mediocre private schools around here, when they can actually get a better education at a public school.
    I think it’s very hard to judge the quality of education available at any school, public or private, from the outside.
    Boston Magazine ranked public school systems this fall. http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/best_schools_2010_the_rankings/
    The trouble with these rankings lies in the factors chosen to measure the school systems. Student-to-teacher ratio, percentage to college, SAT scores, graduation rate, and per-pupil spending—all of those factors are directly related to a town’s affluence. Their list of the “50 best”, (not available online), is a list of the 50 towns with the highest average income. That doesn’t say anything about the quality of the education the students might receive, once one gets past the obviously underfunded and neglected systems.

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