Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Platform: Education

There is alot of talk about federal deficits lately but the failure to spend on education creates it's own deficit. It is a deficit in terms of wasted potential, a deficit in terms of an attractive work force that lures in companies, and it is an actual financial deficit. According to this study the cost of high school dropouts is 1.3 billion a year in criminal justice costs alone. That doesn't even count what it costs in social services, lost tax revenue, lost economic activity...
"The study found that the total spending on social assistance — benefits for food, shelter, clothing and back-to-work incentives — would go down by $4,230 for each additional high school graduate."
If Canada is going to be competitive in the 21st century investment in education, including and especially higher education is essential.

I personally believe this policy should be revived. It would, for a start, deny drivers license to those who do not graduate high school. I would extend this to any and all licenses which are not a matter of charter rights (hunting, fishing, professional licenses etc). But it is not enough to impose penalties without giving people a chance to redeem themselves. Generally public schools need increased funding but more specifically I would set up a nationwide network of community colleges.

These community colleges would be
  • Heavily subsidized and designed to be inexpensive

  • Would have high school completion programs

  • Would have alot of certificate programs

  • Would have general courses that are transferrable to universities, so that people could knock out their first two years of University without racking up debt

  • Would have flexible programs so you could go full time, or part time, saturday courses, online courses etc.

  • Would have continuing education programs for professionals to keep up on new developments - from one day seminars to full semester courses

  • Would be networked so that you could take courses at a variety of different community colleges over time and have all the courses count toward a final goal

  • Would offer free online courses on subjects like citizenship (for immigrants), the Canadian political system (for voters), French and English courses, basic tax filing and home accounting, and basic health and nutrition

  • So, a economically challenged student who wanted a university degree could take their first two years, for a small reasonable amount of money, and could take the first two years over several years if they needed to. This would give them the opportunity to complete half of university without racking up debt and they could work and save money for the next two years. This of course would be combined with the $1000 / month they would be receiving. This would allow more people to go to university, would allow people to get professional certifications without breaking the bank and would allow people to continually re-train to further their careers.

    Would this be expensive? Sure, but as I said no doing it costs money too and creates a different kind of deficit - one that hurts the Canadian economy and tax base in very real ways.

    My Platform: Introduction
    My Platform: Arts and Culture
    My Platform: Poverty
    My Platform: Business and Industry
    My Platform: Crime
    My Platform: Carbon Tax
    My Platform: Labour and Workplace Reform
    My Platform: Electoral and Ethics Reform

    No comments: