It amazes me how a conservative state like Louisiana continues to allow columnists to hide behind the so-called mainstream mantra, when clearly their opinions are liberal. Take for instance Jim Beam’s latest column, which insinuates that Louisiana’s out migration problem is function of a higher educational system that disproportionally affects the poor and the answer is to means test TOPS recipients. Beam fails to report that the graduation rate of TOPS recipients is 60%, while the graduation rate of Pell Grant recipients – a program that does means test – is 40%.
What Beam is really trying to say is that the rich are socking it to the poor and the solution is class warfare. True, Louisiana’s higher education system needs a good scrubbing and we need a more robust trade school program. But the problem doesn’t lie with rich vs. poor; it lies with the turf battles over the money that pit universities against our trade schools (now called the politically-correct term “community colleges”).
To discredit Beam, one only needs to review the amount of money appropriated to education over the past 20 years and insert the results. The conclusion is more money does not equal better education!
Beam blames the TOPS formula that allows any student, regardless of his parents economic position, to receive financial assistance if they complete the TOPS curriculum requirements. He says it discriminates against the poor as it allows anyone to participate. So, according to Beam’s illogic, a government program that only requires the applicant to meet its criteria and doesn’t disqualify a person based race, gender, political preference, religion, or wealth is still discriminatory. This is a classic example of liberals only wanting equality when it suits their argument. To them, equality means there must be a victim and someone to blame.
The real problem is the failure to hold our higher educational administrators accountable. The biggest flaw in the TOPS program is that it allows higher education a pot of cash each time the Legislature trims their budget because with each budget cut from the Legislature comes with a tuition increase from the universities. When tuition increases, TOPS must increase the benefit – allowing the higher education leaders to pillage the taxpayers rather than becoming more efficient. And that is the problem with government
Until the government becomes more efficient and Louisiana’s journalists like Beam write the truth, we will only see a further expansion of liberal ideas and failed policies.