State needs water for its garden of education
To the Daily:
My response to yesterday’s article concerning higher education funding and economic growth (Can higher ed save Michigan?, 10/19/2005) is that it can’t do it alone. I view education as a wonderful and beautiful flowering tree. Higher education is the wonderful flowers and fruits. High schools are the tree trunks and elementary and middle schools are the roots. It makes little sense to prune and fuss over the flowers (higher education) if the roots aren’t being fed and insects are attacking the trunk. Education in Michigan must be looked at as a whole. I would argue that increasing the quality and effectiveness of K-12 education would have a more dramatic impact on the economic fortunes of Michigan, both the state and the University.
The letter writer is a systems analyst for Michigan Administrative Information Services.
Student heating costs deserve more attention
To the Daily:
The barrel of oil has most likely received more media attention throughout the year than any other major news issue. It seems that any and all major events have sent the cost of gas through the roof. As the price of oil continues to surge and the mercury steadily drops, the cost of heating homes this winter will become a growing concern for households nationwide. A government report predicts that heating bills this winter will cost Americans almost one-third more on average; a colder-than-normal winter could raise prices up to 50 percent. Even a warmer-than-normal winter will see a rise in heating costs.
We have all come to deal with the additional cost of oil one way or another. But what will become of this perseverance once winter hits Ann Arbor? How will students cope with energy bills that are 30 to 50 percent higher than usual? Conventional wisdom would say “be responsible.” When the weather report reads 15 degrees, “responsible” is not a concern as you crank up the thermostat. Many students mired in loans and living expenses cannot afford to pay additional costs to stay warm. Suddenly staying warm will drain your bank accounts, and students will be “left in the cold.”
City, county and state officials, as well as the federal government, should be concerned with this problem. These government officials should be working together with energy companies to approach this problem before winter arrives. Subsidizing utility expenses for students is an expensive yet flexible solution. As elected representatives of the people and students, there is a responsibility to serve this interest. Undeniably, the coming months will bring colder weather. Action, or at least consideration, must be taken now to help students stay warm without breaking the bank.
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