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Education budget priorities

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As an instructor in higher education, I have the opportunity to be the last evaluator of college students entering the teaching profession. My objectives are aligned with Obama's education priorities of establishing competitive programs that will reward colleges that enroll and graduate significant numbers of low- and moderate-income students.

Personally, I know what it is like to be one of those low income students pursuing a degree for more qualifications to compete in this fierce labor market. As an instructor, I spend more of my time with these students because they are limited in resources, which impacts their performances compared to other students.

I can see the difference in some students’ abilities and skills, meeting course curriculum, and prior knowledge/prerequisite understanding. Is it fair to set a grading parameter that all students must meet if some students do not have the readily available resources and conducive milieu because of their economic status? Also, overtime students’ skills and abilities will become impacted and thus have higher learning impediments to climb.

Most students are left behind because of the scarce and finite opportunities they have when going to school. In particular, one student of mine did not have access to the internet at home and this resulted in the student missing a deadline that closely related to the student’s opportunity to pass a seminar class: a culmination to many students’ programs. In such cases, we as instructors must follow university criteria and follow a contingency that will offer accountability for all students, no matter the student’s income or economic adversities.

I think the College Opportunity and Graduation Bonuses program will ultimately help assist students that do not have same set of circumstances as other students of higher paying jobs or affluent living conditions. The president’s proposal is 7 billion over 10 years, to colleges and universities that outstandingly enroll and graduate low- and moderate-income students. The operative word is graduate these students because just enrolling them and weeding them out of the system will cause for more debt for several economic benefactors such as the universities, student loan funding programs, and, as a result, sequentially raise debt ceilings.

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