In regard to the upcoming election, I feel your news coverage should emphasize how important it is for Republicans to consider who will do the best job of repairing our economy. In this respect, Dr. Ron Paul stands head and shoulders above other candidates. Others will allow our overgrown government to interfere in our lives, but Dr. Paul understands the importance of keeping taxes low and maintaining freedom for businesses and citizens. Given the importance of such American principles as liberty and self-determination, Ron Paul is the only option.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 June 2012 20:34
When the U.S. Department of Education announced the annual grant winners for the TRIO Upward Bound program last month in Washington, D.C., the impact was felt by hundreds of students and their families in Montana. And it wasn’t good news.
Upward Bound has helped more than one million students from low-income families, where neither parent graduated from college, prepare, enroll, and earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degrees from institutions of higher education. Located on nearly 1,000 college campus sites across the country, Upward Bound programs provide much-needed after-school, weekend and summer college preparation and instruction to these students.
But due to a lack of adequate support from the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress this year, nearly 5,000 students and families across the country will lose the guidance and support services they need to achieve the college dream. Without Congressional support, the cut of $44 million, compared to last year’s budget, will force a number of Upward Bound programs to shut their doors and immediately terminate life-changing educational services to thousands of students and families.
As a result of these cuts, Montana lost four out of its nine Upward Bound programs, a loss of services to 245 students in 20 high schools, 28 percent of whom are Native American. Both Montana high schools and colleges will feel the direct loss of $5 million federal dollar investment in college post-secondary preparation services to the Montana secondary school students.
It is estimated that the lost tuition and fees that are generated as a return on investment of the Upward Bound services, is as high as $10.9 million for Montana colleges. This cut will fall hardest on some of the most vulnerable populations in our state, including tribal communities such as Lame Deer, Northern Cheyenne Tribal School and St. Labre in Ashland on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.
Rurally isolated communities were hit very hard as well, with services being lost in the following towns: Twin Bridges, Harrison, Sheridan, Whitehall, Ennis, Alberton, Plains, Thompson Falls, Superior, Kalispell, Columbia Falls, and Big Fork.
This decision to limit funding was clearly not based on Upward Bound’s effectiveness as a program. In fact, the Education Department’s own data have shown that:
• More than three quarters of all students who participated in Upward Bound programs went to college in the fall immediately following high school graduation.
• This figure rose to more than 90% for students who participated for three years or longer in the program or remained involved through high school graduation.
• Upward Bound students were 50% more likely to attain a bachelor’s degree than their counterparts.
As chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations, Rep. Denny Rehberg is in an excellent position to reverse these devastating cuts. If you support the program, you can reach out to Rep. Rehberg at http://rehberg.house.gov/index.html and tell him you hope he will continue his strong support for the program this year by helping reverse the Department’s decision and restore this much-needed funding.
Upward Bound represents only a drop in the bucket in the overall federal budget. But it can be life-changing experience for many hard-working underserved students in Montana and around the country who dream of becoming the first in their family to earn a college degree.
Amy L. Verlanic
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 June 2012 20:33
I read with interest the Gazette’s March 28 article about the Port of Coos Bay Port Commission demanding citizens pay thousands of dollars for a public records request for a proposed coal export port. The plan for the port involves transporting coal in mile-long trains from the Northern Plains to Oregon for export overseas. While I believe that the port should be open with their plans, what really baffles me is the idea that our nation is making plans to export our finite resources.
According to the recent Billings coal export conference, coal companies plan to export 110 million tons of coal annually. If these plans proceed, we could be facing 40 additional trains per day traveling through Billings and every other Montana city and rail crossing along the route. We will lose time waiting for trains, while ambulances, fire engines, and police vehicles will be delayed responding to emergencies. We’ll also be impacted by coal dust, diesel fumes, noise, and safety concerns.
It is time we thought through this coal export idea and determine who it will benefit. Montanans whose towns will be divided by a wall of train traffic are certainly not going to be at the top of the list. If anything, we are going to be left paying for ways to mitigate the problems via personal health costs, and city, county and state taxes.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 June 2012 20:32
The morning news the day after Super Tuesday: “Republicans are looking for the best candidate to beat President Obama.”
I thought the election was to find the best person capable of running the country. I thought we were voting on the best person to discern domestic and foreign policy. Sense when did the election become, find a warm body to replace the guy in office? I would hope there would be some informed choice for whom to vote.
So far, all I have heard is bad mouthing of the opposition, by the opposition.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 June 2012 20:31
I was just wondering when the government started paying for private tuition for charter/private schools? In fact some parents who put their children in these school feel that they are owed something because a great percentage of their property taxes are taken for education.
As a home schooling parent in the beginning of that movement I paid school taxes for year with nothing to0 gain. In fact in the early days our children were denied any services whatsoever. The only thing that costs an individual schools the state payments per student, which, of course, is never refunded to the home schooling parents.
One wonders where that money goes. Also, if public funds are diverted into these private and charter schools, why can’t the less fortunate students get their tuition paid just like the students in those alternative schools? If, in fact, that is ever factual.
One also might why there are so many charter and private and Christian schools opening as well as the swelling number of home schoolers. Could it be the atmosphere of the government schools or the fact that some schools are teaching things that contradict what the parents are trying to teach their children?
Free schools? Seems that the free educational system costs taxpayers hundreds of billions nationwide every year. That seems not to be the definition of free. Maybe for those not paying property taxes it might be “free.”
I have had the opportunity to travel much of the world and these countries have tuition based systems so that all parents who have children in schools pay an equal share.
In some nations, if the parents cannot pay than the child cannot go to school. That is not right either. If a family is truly indigent then public money could be used to underwrite qualified students. But it may well be the time for parents in this country to begin paying tuition. I know this is not a popular idea but we need to change something.
Perhaps the people are trying to send a message when the levies fail.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 June 2012 20:30