Voter Education Kicks Off with U.S. Senate Debate

Hawaii had the lowest voter turnout among all states in 2012 – with less than half (44.5 percent) of eligible voters casting ballots. Yet, older voters turn out to the polls at a much higher rate than any other age group, suggesting that Hawaii voters age 50-plus will play an important role in determining this year’s election results.

Beginning in July, AARP Hawaii will sponsor a televised debate and numerous in-person voter education events designed to help residents make informed decisions as they cast their votes.

The voter education season kicks off on Tuesday, July 15 on KHON2 (7 – 8 p.m.) with a live, televised debate featuring Senator Brian Schatz and Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, leading Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. Sen. Schatz was appointed to the United States Senate in December 2012, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye. Rep. Hanabusa has served as Representative of Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District since January 2011.

At a time when “entitlement reform” and Social Security have become bargaining chips in Washington, D.C., and as increasing numbers of boomer-generation residents feel unprepared for their own retirement, the debate is expected to include questions about the candidates’ positions on Medicare and Social Security. The debate format also calls for questions to be solicited from the general public and for candidates to have an opportunity to question each other directly.

Beginning July 18, AARP will also sponsor a series of federal and state issues forums. These sessions will include a briefing on the future of Social Security and updates on AARP’s priority state legislative issues related to caregiving and long-term care.

The existing schedule is as follows (Kauai event date to be decided):

  • Friday, July 18 (9:30 – 11:30 a.m.) Maui Beach Hotel
  • Monday, July 28 (9:30 – 11:30 a.m.) Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
  • Tuesday, July 29 (9:30 – 11:30 a.m.) King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel
  • Saturday, August 2 (9:30 – 11:30 a.m.) Ward Warehouse, Kakaako Conference Rooz

AARP does not endorse candidates, have a political action committee (PAC), or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. For over 28 years, non-partisan voter education has been part of AARP’s mission to help Americans live their best lives. AARP informs its members and the general public about candidates’ position on issues so they can choose candidates that best represent their views and values.

Following the Primary Election on August 9, AARP Hawaii will make an on-line state and federal voter guide available to the public, enabling Hawaii voters to find out where the candidates stand on issues important to them.

Education loans can augment the boundaries of what you can achieve

Education loans are open to all people in all its myriad forms. Education loans can realize your education plans or the education plans of your children. You can strengthen you own future and the future of your son or daughter with education loans. An extensive range of student and parent loans are presented under the category of education loans. There are many types of education loans. Discerning about the types of education loans will help you in making the accurate decision. The single largest resource of education loans is federal loan. The two main federal education loan programmes are the Federal Family Education Loan Programme and the Federal Direct Loan Programme. In the Federal Family Education Loan Programme the bank, credit union or the school is the lender. While the federal direct loans programme, the department of education is the lender.

Private education loans are offered to people so that they can provide financial backup to their education plans. Private education loans are not endorsed by other government agencies but are provided by other financial institutions. Private education loans programme are optimum for both undergraduate and graduate studies.

Formal education is requisite for future success. Though this is not a hard and fast rule, but education certainly helps you in gaining an upper hand. With universities getting expensive by each day an education loan will certainly give you an incentive to go ahead with your education plans. Each year while contemplating on your education plans the thought of finances almost invariably comes in. While working towards you degree, you are constantly plagued about paying for the education fees, books, and other living expenses. Education loans can provide funding for tuition fees, board and room, books computer, and even student travel. An education loan can help you with all these expenses. Education loans are sufficient enough to take care of all these expenses. If you have been forced to drop your education for any reason, you can still take up your education at any point of time. Irrespective of your age and also where you have left your education.

There are no specific eligibility criteria for education loans. Any person who is in need of sponsorship for education can find an education loan that befits his or her financial necessity. Loan amount on education loans vary with the kind of education you want to pursue. The repayment options with education loans will similarly accommodate your personal financial preferences. You can either repay interest amount while still in school or six months after graduation. Education loans offer upto ten years for repayments. The refund alternatives on education loans also include deferment, forbearance and consolidation. The various sites on education loans can give you innumerable repayment options and monetary remuneration.

Education loans will help you in planning your life after graduation. However, an education loan like every loan is a huge financial obligation. An education loans is generally the first substantial loan for most people and therefore the first major expense. Do not be completely dependent on your education loans for the funding of your complete education. Try to apply for any other financial sustenance like university grants, scholarships, fellowships, work study programmes and assistance ship and any other form of aid. This will certainly encourage a fluid dispensation of your education loans. You can start by going to the financial aid office in your school or university. It will provide you further insight to the kind of education loans, you must apply for.

Education is an experience of life. It is so rewarding in itself that it helps you to manage almost everything in your life. Education loans discipline your impulse towards education and training into a fruitful contrivance. The payoff is delicious in terms of improved quality of life. Education is expensive! Is it? With education loans it can’t be. NowPsychology Articles, you don’t have to take the road in front of you. Make your own road with education loans.

God is real fact opinion or assertion Texas students had to answer

Saying God is real may get you an F.

Jordan Wooley, a 7th grader in Houston, Texas, said this week that her teacher at West Memorial Junior High School recently gave a class assignment that asked students to say that God didn’t exist, according to KHOU.

The assignment, which you can see below, asked students to label statements as either facts, opinions or commonplace assertions. Wooley wrote that the statement “There is a God” was both a fact and opinion for some, but her teacher didn’t agree — telling Wooley that both her answers were wrong and that she had to admit that God wasn’t real.

“I said it was fact or opinion,” Wooley said. “Based on my religion and based on what I think and believe, I do not think it was a commonplace assertion.”

Wooley’s mother, Chantel, couldn’t believe this happened in her daughter’s class.

“That a kid was literally graded against her faith in God in a classroom, so who would want to be known,” Chantel said, according to KHOU. “So the kids were caught in a Catch-22. If they argued their faith, they were being told they were arguing against their faith, and that happened in the classroom.”

Jordan Wooley wouldn’t let her frustration go unheard. She spoke at a recent Katy Independent School District board meeting about the scenario, explaining that she wasn’t the only student offended by the assignment.

“My friend, she went home and she started crying. And she was actually supposed to come with me, but she didn’t think she could,” Jordan said at the meeting. “So my friend, she turned in her paper and she had still put that God was a fact and to be true. And my teacher crossed the answer out several times, telling her that it was completely wrong.”

But the West Memorial Junior High faculty released a statement — which has been deleted from the Katy Independent School District’s website — that said this assignment wasn’t meant to create conflict over religious beliefs. In fact, the worksheet was meant to encourage critical thinking among students, according to the statement.

“The activity, which was intended to encourage critical thinking skills and dialogue by engaging students in an exercise wherein they identified statements as fact, opinion, or common assertion was not intended to question or challenge any student’s religious beliefs as reported by some media outlets,” the statement read.

The school also said the assignment “will no longer be used by the school.”

This isn’t the first time discussions about religion’s place in school settings has come up. In 2014, Maryland parents voiced concerns about schools teaching lessons about Islam during world history class, according to WUSA-9. In fact, one family requested that their daughter be excused from the lessons because they objected to religion being taught in public school, WUSA-9 reported.

“We just want to be involved in our daughter’s education,” Melissa Wood, a parent of a student, told WUSA-9. “We as parents should be able to choose what our kids are learning.”

As our own Kelsey Dallas reported earlier this month, policymakers in Tennessee are also debating “if children are mature enough to study religious doctrine in history class” after parents complained that many homework assignments focused on religious teachings.

This “ideological struggle,” as The Atlantic calls it, looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future, as American schools, policymakers and parents figure out the appropriateness of teaching religion in school.

To help bridge the gap between the two sides, author Linda K. Wertheimer suggests schools explain to both parents and students why they’re learning about religion.

It’s also important for schools to stress that they’re teaching, not preaching, religious ideas.

“If anything, schools are in a better place than they were in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was commonplace for teachers to lead children in prayer and recite Bible verses as part of the morning routine,” Wertheimer explained. “The 1963 court ruling prohibiting teacher-led prayer gradually led to bigger efforts to educate children about many religions. But there is a real fear of proselytizing when it comes to classes about the Bible as literature or history. Parents should be the most concerned about those types of courses.”

Lawmakers Are biggest shiniest college buildings best use of taxpayer dollars

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers are considering a proposal that they say would encourage public colleges and universities to use tax dollars more frugally in building new structures by changing the way those buildings are funded.

The discussion is headed by Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, who raised the possibility early this year of getting the Legislature “out of the building business” by allocating money for capital projects on a per-student basis rather than by individual projects.

It’s a reminder for lawmakers and college leaders that educational quality should come before lofty atriums, but the current process engenders otherwise, he said.

“As a Legislature, we value brick and mortar more than we value accountability in our higher education system. Our money shows that. That is what we value — brick and mortar over what goes on in the brick and mortar,” Urquhart said. “That’s a real problem we face in dealing with higher education. Those are the incentives we hang out there.”

The Education Interim Committee considered an early proposal from Urquhart on Thursday to allocate capital funding to each institution on a yearly basis. One possibility would be to take the 20-year funding average for higher education capital facilities, currently about $82 million, and distribute it among institutions based on various needs.

The yearly amount for each campus could be determined with current enrollment, projected enrollment growth, degrees awarded, square footage of facilities and other possibilities.

Institutions could use the money each year to make needed upgrades of existing facilities, or they could let the money accumulate over several years to pay for a new building, coupled with private donations, Urquhart said.

“What I’m proposing is that we have a building fund for our higher education institutions. The Legislature puts in a certain amount of money, and ideally, we’d put ongoing money into that and build it up,” he said. “If we have the right formula in place, then they will try to leverage those dollars to go out and get private donations and will build frugally. They will try to get as much out of those dollars as they possibly can.”

The current process for funding new college buildings usually happens on a project-by-project basis. Institutions identify capital needs on their campuses, then make requests to the Utah Board of Regents. The board then prioritizes several capital projects and makes a recommendation to the Legislature, with the expectation that not all buildings will be funded.

The Legislature ultimately provides at least partial funding for a select number of projects. Last year, the Board of Regents requested almost $250 million for nine capital priorities, and the Legislature appropriated $83.4 million for four buildings.

“What this system means is the institutions come and they want the big building, and the bigger, the better. So it’s an opportunity really to sit on Santa’s lap,” Urquhart said. “Conceptually, a better system would be for the institutions to have more direct responsibility for the money, rather than putting all their eggs in one basket and going for the biggest, shiniest building.”

David Buhler, commissioner of higher education, said the proposal is “an interesting concept,” but since the discussion is still young, institution leaders haven’t been able to explore the implications of it and what unintended consequences might arise.

“We’re at a very early stage here,” Buhler said. “This is a different kind of beast. This is an example of how it might work. It really (depends on) whether the Legislature wants to go this way, and if they do, we really appreciate the opportunity to have a seat at the table.”

Buhler said he hopes lawmakers will keep in mind that college enrollment in Utah is projected to increase by 50,000 students in the next decade, and that growth looks different at each institution. If the proposal was adopted, institutions would have to be able to depend on yearly appropriations to be able to plan and carry out capital projects, he said.

“What would be really detrimental is if this were set up, institutions are counting on it, and we have a downturn and it’s not funded one year,” he said. “You’re ready to break ground, but the money’s not there.”

Members of the Education Interim Committee were supportive of the concept, though some questions remain about how such a formula would work. Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, said if the Legislature could guarantee yearly funding for a higher education capital fund, it could create more assurance and consistency than the current system.

“From an administration standpoint, it takes the uncertainty out of the process, so they’re not spending their time in an effort and in stress wondering whether they’re going to be able to accomplish what they need,” Snow said. “This money will be there. They can count on it. I think it will help them manage their capital facilities.”

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said lawmakers should also consider the fact that more college courses are being offered online, which could replace physical square footage needs with server space.

“This may work for a while, and I think we should do it. But as the world changes, and disruptive technologies continue to disrupt higher education, we’re moving in a world where we’re just getting certifications and (being) respected for what we know and can do, as opposed to how long we’ve sat in a higher education institution,” Stephenson said. “Sooner or later, in the next 10 years, this might be obsolete because we have a lot of empty buildings.”