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Educational reform must include the rights of undocumented students to achieve collegiate dreams

LatinaLista — Yesterday, the web site announced that they have finally culled a list of ten winning ideas (from the hundreds they received) that they will present to the Obama administration for consideration to implement.
Though not in any particular order, the list leads with Pass the DREAM Act: Support Higher Education for All Students. Congratulations to all the students who worked tirelessly to get the necessary votes to bring it to the top ten.

An education report reveals that in the next five years there will have to be significant investment in higher education for Hispanic immigrants if the country is to remain globally competitive. Yet, passage of the DREAM Act would address some of those concerns of the future economy while providing the quickest impact on students and setting the tone for true educational reform.
Reforming education is usually a standard political campaign promise for politicians who want to garner easy votes. A quick review of the planned educational reforms on the Obama-Biden agenda reveal that the new administration made a wide range of campaign promises: improving early childhood education options, reforming No Child Left Behind, addressing the dropout crisis and simplifying the financial aid process for college applicants among several others.
One reform that is noticeably absent, but was supported by Obama during the campaign, was passage of the DREAM Act. It is a bill that would enable undocumented students to attend college and pay in-state tuition.
Part of the criticism against the DREAM Act has always been the cost to educate undocumented students. In contrast, the cost for all the reforms the incoming administration wants to undertake will be supported because it will be argued that it is in the best interest of the country’s future to fund them.
Yet, it’s funny how the same argument is never applied to those students who have lived their whole lives in the United States, are academically prepared to tackle college and ready to give back to the country in ways that would far exceed the costs of their college education. Well, perhaps a report that found the nation’s economic future hinges on the need to fund higher education programs specifically targeting “Hispanic immigrants” will shed new thinking on a tired argument.

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  • Steve Starr
    January 18, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Just a reminder for the readers that the Dream Act idea on was not the #1 idea -legalizing marijuana was. The Dream Act came in 8th.
    The site lists the winners but clearly says -in no particular order. When you click on the idea you can see the ranking.
    I completely agree that we must support the Dream Act for those that need it but as a regular reader I’m surprised at your misleading reporting. Please correct your information.

  • Marisa Treviño
    January 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Steve, You’re right. Sorry I didn’t notice that it stated “No particular ranking.” However, when I clicked on the idea, I didn’t find its ranking explicitly stated. There was only the total amount of votes collected that qualified it for the second round. In my haste, I just saw that it was listed first. The clarification will be noted — thanks.

  • Thomas
    January 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    How about you guys going back to your own country and demand reform. You already destroyed California. What one state is not enought. Want to destroy the whole nation? I knew giving College grants to illegals was a bad idea. No no kid can get a grant now. California is broke. Well done illegals. You turn Los Angeles into a ghetto and turn the 7th world economy into a bankrupt begger looking for a handout. I hope every other state in the union flips us off. Besides this country has seen its last hurrah. Hyperinflation hasn’t kick in it. Its what happens when you print money without the credit to back it. After all we are 10 trillion in debt. Our childrens children will force to pay for the crimes of their grandfathers and grandmothers.

  • Irma
    January 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Dear Webmaster,
    I want to suggest a topic for discussion. That would be the the issue of institutional overhead paid by the US government to educational institutions when educators are awarded research grants.
    Personally, I think it has become a scam and that the American public need to demand that things change.
    Here is how it works. Lets say Dr. Gonzalez
    applies for and is awarded a $500,00 research grant from the US government through the National Institutes of Health. The university where Dr. Gonzalez requests in addition, 65% overhead on every dollar awarded. This means that the school will get $325,000 on top of the
    500 , Dr. Gonzalez gets. Now , a tax payer may ask why the school should get that overhead.
    The official answer is that they use the money to
    pay for the electricity, water, gas , heating and
    building and administrative expenses associated
    with Dr. Gonzalez ‘ laboratory. Fine, but what is often not noticed is that they take the overhead on EVERY grant awarded. If Dr. Gonzalez is very successful at getting grants, at some point the university is PROFITTING off
    of that overhead.
    The universities, in particular the medical schools have taken this issue of overhead and have gone to town with it. They have become so dependent on the money, that now advancement to tenure is based in part on how
    many grants ( ie overhead ) a professor can get.
    In addition, medical schools now expect their faculty to get at least 50% of their salaries and
    benefits from grants. I think this is quite unfair to the taxpayer. Why should the US taxpayer
    pay the salaries of university/medical school
    scientists? Currently, institutional overhead
    at most medical schools ranges from a low of
    50% to 90% ! Naturally, overhead REDUCES
    the total amount of money available to buy research supplies!
    The new administration could save tens of millions of dollars by simply reducing the amount of institutional overhead they pay to
    universities. I think 35% should be sufficient and also that there should be a fixed absolute value of overhead paid per individual. The latter practice would prevent the universities
    from profitting off of the American taxpayer.
    To protect the scientists, the US government should state that it is ILLEGAL for universities
    to demand that their faculty bring in money
    as a part of the promotion process.
    Would you be willing to write an article about this?

  • Horace
    February 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Actually, there is no Constitutional right for an illegal alien to obtain an education in this country, nevermind being permitted to attend our colleges, so asserting such rights exist is silly and ignorant. Any rights for illegal aliens should be addressed to their homelands.
    Why should I as a taxpayer be forced to subsidize the education of a person who is in this country contrary to my will, as expressed in my laws? How much money do you personally give to illegal aliens for scholarships, Marisa? I’ll bet you give nothing, yet you would force thosed of us that object to such actions to pay up. If illegal aliens want a college education they should accept the idea that they shall not benefit from their illicit presence. Maybe Mexico, the country that drove them out, should do so.

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