There is no way to guarantee college graduates that there will be jobs for them when they finish school. Short of a socialist arrangement, this is still an open frontier economically. It was the case for me in 1993, and it is more so today. But, the OWS crowd is not completely wrong to worry about student debt, which can cripple people.
The city is closing after-school programs because they cannot afford to keep them operating, with many of these programs in Brooklyn. Fiscal conservatives are often quick to point out that government can spend less money if it only took a hard look at the bottom line.
After-school programs are worth the money, however. They are more than a glorified day care service; they allow students to develop a relationship with their schools that goes beyond the basic required class work.
Some education hawks have been calling for an extended school year for a long time. Schools should be operating as long as Japanese schools are open, but that can turn into a union fight the city cannot get into right now. The issues of after-school programs closing and students with debt might be able solve each other to some extent.
The problem with student debt is not paying the borrowed amount back to the bank, which is simply what is expected. The interest is where students get slammed. In a strong economy, interest is all part of what makes the economic wheel spin. In these times, however, the city might be able to absorb some college debt interest from its newly graduated residents in exchange for them working in these after-school programs.
It will not solve the entire problem, but it might be a way to show new graduates an act of good faith and get some needed elbow grease from them as well. Focus the program on graduates from New York State colleges, and you can encourage high school students to choose our colleges more often – the benefit goes both ways.
Most importantly, it could keep programs open and kids off the street. Any way to keep working moms and dads in a position to continue working is important in this economy and in our neighborhoods.
We Could See a Triple Crown
In 1985, after a rainy Saturday Ozone-Howard Little League game, my uncle and I headed to Belmont Park to see the Belmont Stakes. I have been a fan of the big races ever since.
I choose my usual losing tickets by focusing a great deal on the trainers. For me, New Yorker Nick Zito is always a good choice, and I like D. Wayne Lukas as well.
The fact that we might see a Triple Crown winner this year is a very big deal for sports fans. When I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby, it was big news. He was a field horse when he ran in the Kentucky Derby, and was not supposed to win; the odds were dramatic. There was no way that this horse, after getting lucky in Churchill Downs was going to win at The Preakness in Baltimore...until he did.
Can he win the Belmont Stakes? You can bet on it (as if you didn’t know that). If this horse wins the Triple Crown, this would be the biggest sports story since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, and certainly with a happier outcome for New York sports fans.