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'Tuition fees are socially unjust'

NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

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NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Of course they are, but our so-called progressive politicial parties are just floundering in a sea of right-wing gobbledygook.

Germany Scraps Tuition Fees. Should Canada Follow?

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/10/01/tuition-fees-germany-canada_n_59...


cco
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Joined: Apr 25 2005

What a misleading clickbait headline. "Germany abandons brief idiotic experiment with tuition fees" would be far more accurate. But that said, YES!!! Québec put up a bit of a stink over this two years ago.

Gratuité scolaire pour toutes et tous!


Slumberjack
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Joined: Aug 8 2005

The salaries of university execs are unjust, as are BA programs.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

Why are BA programmes unjust?


Slumberjack
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Joined: Aug 8 2005

Most of the BA grads I know are lucky to pull a few shifts at the drive thru.


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

Bullshit, Slumberjack, I know lots of BAs who are gainfully employed. 


BillBC
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Joined: May 16 2009

If there are no tuition fees, working people will be paying through their taxes so that lawyers and accountants can get their degrees for free.  Is this socially just?


cco
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Joined: Apr 25 2005
Yes.

NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Lawyers and accountants are the main reason our economies are worth shit. All they do is move paper around instead of actually making something.

Seriously, who, apart from the rich, needs them?


BillBC
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Joined: May 16 2009

@cco.  Why yes?


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

BillBC wrote:

If there are no tuition fees, working people will be paying through their taxes so that lawyers and accountants can get their degrees for free.  Is this socially just?

The lawyers and accountants will also be paying through their taxes.  And if their incomes are higher, then they will be paying proportionately more - which is as it should be.  And then the educational system is open to all, instead of just the kids from higher income families.

Coming from a family of tradespeople and having worked at a worker's compensation board for about 5 years, the one thing that bothers me about the "degrees are bullshit, go to college or trade school" argument is that work that is physically demanding can make for a shorter career, especially in the building trades.  All it takes is one bad injury.  A lawyer with a bad back can still work - so can the guy with a BA and an office job, which may not be as lucrative at the beginning of the career but may be considerably more so later on.

I just find this whole argument in multiple threads here on babble isn't given a lot of nuance, and it doesn't sound like there's much point in engaging with - there's no real argument built, no back and forth.  Is "fuck education" really the position worth holding here?  And is that all you've got, argument-wise?

[ETA - last paragraph not aimed specifically at Bill]


BillBC
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Joined: May 16 2009

@ timebandit.  You make a good point, and I certainly am not proposing "fuck education."  Still though, I wonder if an accountant will pay enough taxes during her life to make up for the difference between her income and a barista's....

No one ever seems to propose an alternative idea:  that tuition should be free, but that entrance should be strictly regulated through entrance examinations that would weed out some of the not very intelligent or motivated types who go to university now.  I think in Germany, whose policy started this thread, far fewer kids go to university....the trades are more valued there, and university attendance is more limited.

 


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

I think we should institute tuition fees for K-12, along with strict entrance exams. Otherwise, law-abiding hard-working taxpayers just end up subsidizing losers and lawyers.

We then need to have a close look at our municipal garbage collection. Why do we have free pickup for: 1) millionaires, who could readily afford private collection? 2) losers, whose homes look like a pigsty? I think the middle class is getting it up the you know what.

And don't - do not - get me started on hospitals.

 


Caissa
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Joined: Jun 14 2006

Education is a right. There should not be tuition fees at any level.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Caissa wrote:

Education is a right. There should not be tuition fees at any level.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Charter was amended to include: "Every person has an inalienable right to education, health care, and employment"?

I remember once years ago having a little debate with Ed Broadbent about that, during a Q&A after he spoke at some union conference. I was talking about employment as a Charter right. He said he didn't believe the Constitution should include rights of an "economic" nature. We agreed to disagree, both about the substance and the characterization.

Education is a right of the individual. And it is a need of the society. Society should pay.

 


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

The problem I have with the entrance exams limiting attendance is that kids who grow up in lower-income families may not have the same academic skills despite being every bit as intelligent and motivated as kids from higher-income homes.  Sure, there needs to be a benchmark for getting in, but most institutions already have that (we are looking at the early admission process for my daughter right now).  I also think the the university students who are unmotivated or not very bright schtick is more caricature than reality.  There may be a smattering of lazy dimwits, but when I was teaching as a sessional it was not my experience that they were anything but a very small minority of students.

ETA:  Wot Unionist sed.  And Caissa.


BillBC
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Joined: May 16 2009

"Education is a right of the individual. And it is a need of the society. Society should pay."

how many lawyers and accountants does society need?

as for free tuition...that doesn't level the playing field...there are many other expenses, such as living expenses, books etc.  Should it all be free, for everyone?


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

BillBC wrote:

how many lawyers and accountants does society need?

Not sure - I've asked the accountants to prepare an estimate.

Quote:
as for free tuition...that doesn't level the playing field...there are many other expenses, such as living expenses, books etc.  Should it all be free, for everyone?

Yes. But the lawyers tell me to go one step at a time.

 


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

BillBC wrote:

"Education is a right of the individual. And it is a need of the society. Society should pay."

how many lawyers and accountants does society need?

as for free tuition...that doesn't level the playing field...there are many other expenses, such as living expenses, books etc.  Should it all be free, for everyone?

If there is no longer a need for lawyers and accountants, or there isn't enough work for the numbers who are seeking that employment, then those who can't find employment in their fields will do other things.  The difference is that they'll have more transferable skills than most carpenters do when building booms go bust.

No, it doesn't totally level the playing field, but it goes a long way to doing so.  Why not have assistance covering those costs based on need?


Slumberjack
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Joined: Aug 8 2005

Timebandit wrote:
Bullshit, Slumberjack, I know lots of BAs who are gainfully employed.

So do I, as I mentioned.


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

Right, so why spout nonsense, SJ?  I don't know that many BAs who are "lucky" to be getting shifts at the drive thru.  None of my acquaintance, actually, and other than media constructions for and by the Wente-style columnists of the world, it doesn't seem to be a reality, or if it is, it's nothing more than the period of underemployment most of us went through during the recession of the '90s. 


BillBC
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Joined: May 16 2009

"Why not have assistance covering those costs based on need?"  Yes, and the same for tuition, which was my point.


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

Because then the onus is on the student to show why they "need" to go to university, to justify the assitance.  It makes it look less attainable than if it's just a matter of course that if you want to go, you can.  Anyone who is below a certain income level should have the assistance guaranteed. 

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having a better-educated population.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Timebandit wrote:
Why not have assistance covering those costs based on need?

Because a modern humane progressive society should aim for providing socially necessary services to all, at society's expense. Not user fees. Not means tests. Those are dangerous paths. Right now, the Couillard government is proposing higher child care fees for higher-income folks. Very seductive. No. Increase progressive taxes on individuals and corporations to pay for what society needs. Otherwise, why not tuition fees for elementary school and fees for hospital stays, with handouts to the poor to help them pay? No. Universality.

 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

tl;dr What Timebandit, Unionist and Caissa said

This mulberry bush again! First, the proposition that humanities degrees will only help you quote Chaucer while you work on the fry line is a) demonstrably not true; b) an extremely vulgar and narrow way to evaluate the value of an education that teaches qualitative, problem solving, holistic ways of viewing the world and how we live inside it; and c) is a one-sided assertion that seeks to blame humanities students for an economic and social catastrophe not of their making. When a liberal arts graduate can't get a job that uses their skills, why don't we ever blame the system that wastes their talents and abilities so? No, instead we blame Shakespeare because he would build a shitty smartphone.

Second, yes, universality. I've been trolled so much by Stephen Gordon on Twitter about how backwards the left is on their thinking of education blah blah blah that it's exhausting to even argue this anymore -- but Unionist is quite right: we have normalized tuition to the extent that we actually believe the imaginary line between high school and post-secondary education is real -- and that it must be marked with a purchase price. Education is not an item you can rent or own. It is a collective and social good that benefits everyone. It is part of our commonwealth and we should nurture, grow and protect it. Damn right put it in the Charter. It should not be cordoned off with hefty pricetags or jealous testing mechanisms that both exclude marginalized people and change the way education is delivered. Education is a right. Education for all. Point.

It is endlessly facinating to me how proud Canadians (and Britons) are of their national health care programs -- and how without blinking they will proudly declare that every one, no matter who they are, is entitled to good health. But apply that notion to things like housing, education and yes, employment, and those same people will tie themselves up in knots explaining why people deserve to remain on the streets.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Tuition fees are never free, but just like health care they need to be paid for out of general taxes.

Canadians should be able to study whatever they want, and not be charged extra for it.  

Canada does though need to get a good apprenticeship program into place like Gerrmany has.

Or do we want foreign workers to get all the good jobs in Canada.


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

Unionist wrote:

Timebandit wrote:
Why not have assistance covering those costs based on need?

Because a modern humane progressive society should aim for providing socially necessary services to all, at society's expense. Not user fees. Not means tests. Those are dangerous paths. Right now, the Couillard government is proposing higher child care fees for higher-income folks. Very seductive. No. Increase progressive taxes on individuals and corporations to pay for what society needs. Otherwise, why not tuition fees for elementary school and fees for hospital stays, with handouts to the poor to help them pay? No. Universality.

 

Excellent point.  I concur.

 


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

NorthReport wrote:

Or do we want foreign workers to get all the good jobs in Canada.

"Good" is a highly subjective word.  It could mean any number of things.  Not all trades jobs are necessarily "good" in every sense of the word.  Or so thought my grandfather, the tradesman.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

NorthReport wrote:
Or do we want foreign workers to get all the good jobs in Canada.

Wtf?


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Catchfire wrote:

NorthReport wrote:
Or do we want foreign workers to get all the good jobs in Canada.

Wtf?

Well, it sounds a bit sketchy, but I think I know what NR means. For many decades, Canadian capitalists and governments have refused to invest in skilled trades apprenticeships, preferring to wait for critical shortages and then import tradespeople - at once time from the British Isles, then elsewhere in Europe, then India, the Philippines, etc. Goverments must prioritize and subsidize and promote skilled trades training. If that's what NR means, I'm in full agreement.

Oh and by the way, we need a massive cultural and educational shift so that women are actually allowed to enter this male domain. It's one of the last big job ghettoes that's hardly been breached at all:

Women pushed out of "non-traditional" jobs by harassment and discrimination

Unionist ranting in 2008

It did sound sketchy, though...

 


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