Defeat the ‘Higher Ed, Lower Debt’ Bill

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Although hushed up by the mainstream media — who don’t want people to know about stuff they might protest until after it has become law — the legislative homepage of infamous Wisconsin Senator Chris Larson bragged about an ill-conceived piece of legislation known as the “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” bill.

Written by Representative Cory Mason and Senator Dave Hansen, this misguided proposal would cap tuition while allocating over five percent more to certain segments of the UW System budget segment in the so-called “biennium budget” spanning FY2014-2015 and FY2015-2016.

I sought more details but could find neither the text of the bill nor the Assembly Bill (AB), Senate Bill (SB), or Joint Resolution (JR) number. Perhaps it has already been addressed? Tabled? Hopefully voted down in the legislative chambers? At least vetoed without an override? Anyone with knowledge on these is welcome to cite his or her sources in the comment section!

But rest assured, the higher education hucksters will push forth a similar bill in subsequent sessions to further waste taxpayer money on the systemic misdirection of labor from full-time production into full-time studies. Part-time work history while in school does not count for anything these days, and chalk up a negative on your employability scoreboard if your part-time job while in college was a students-only position.

Therefore, it is in the public interest to defeat bills that would expand UW System enrollment, inflate funding for the same, and otherwise tie up resources that would be better served on vo-tech expansion, greater integration of job shadowing activities into high school curricula, and incentivizing corporations to create more “hire to train” positions instead of relying almost exclusively on mid-level and above talent to fill their so-called “entry level” jobs.

With that understanding, here is my form letter / email template for combating the rhetoric of the university pitchmen and whitewash women:

Subject Line: Universities Should Be De-FUNDED

[Senator | Representative] Last_Name:

I hereby recommend you vote against the so-called “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” bill — it accomplishes nothing except to further incentivize youth to waste their time in a liberal arts university when we need more occupational school grads.

You might laugh at the idea of unemployed college graduates unable to obtain professional work, but this is becoming a far more common reality than you realize. Adding more degrees to the labor surplus doesn’t help anything at all — it wastes resources such as taxpayer dollars; student labor that could otherwise be spent working a full-time manual laborer job; and student money that could instead be invested in the stock market.

Vocational / technical (vo-tech) school shall re-emerge as the best occupational option for the Millennial generation. Three dominant reasons are recurrent among those who choose the trades or technical training:

1) Many “hire to train” jobs are strictly for those with vo-tech certificates or professional licenses you get only through trade school;

2) There is less need to rely upon social capital to get a job when you have in-demand technical experience — social capital is less important in dictating your market value when your value package is more concrete instead of abstract;

3) Presuming a vo-tech student might change his or her field of training once or twice, he or she still comes out ahead of the university student who is slaving away at finishing one major without any change to major or minor. The opportunity cost of a failed career entry is much lower with trade school!

I’ve had it up to here with those higher education hucksters! Enjoy these parodies of assorted university ads:

[Salutation of your choice],

[Your name]

[Address at which you’re registered to vote — proves you’re a Wisconsin resident and required for official acknowledgement]

[Phone number where their staffers may reach you — optional; most responses are by snail mail or email]

[Other information such as social media handles — optional; you might gain some views, especially on LinkedIn]

Now that we’ve put that obnoxious legislation to rest, you might wonder what my connection to Senator Larson is. He and I were officials in the Student Association at UW-Milwaukee — now known as S.A.M. to kowtow in accordance with Student Affairs’ desire to co-opt the initialism S.A.

Larson’s most notable contribution to the student government was to jettison around $300 worth of unsold roses following a failed Year 2006 Valentine’s Day fundraiser. I can disclose this about Chris because he’s a public official and therefore unable to be slandered or libeled; see the fallout from my SA Sedition Act for more details.

So what about other state officials who I met at UWM? Another state senator from UW-Milwaukee is Nikiya Harris (nee Mudd), but we did not cross paths other than being on the same Urban Ecology Center email list for activities credited towards the Student Service Record Certificate — an ultimately unmarketable designation, but like my similarly worthless honor cord, it seemed like a worthy goal at the time. I’m here to tell you that such university blandishments are not worth the air you breathe while working towards them!

And speaking of which, the standards for earning a volunteerism certificate at UWM have been much diluted: The maximum recognition of achievement is capped at 40 hours, and easier tiers of 30 and 20 hours are offered. It was a shade over 4 years ago that I earned mine, but already I sound like, “When I was your age, we had to log over 75 hours to get one of those certificates!”

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