Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Education Nation is a nationally broadcast, in-depth conversation about improving education in America.
During an interactive summit on Rockefeller Plaza, parents, teachers, and students will come together with leaders in politics, business, and technology to discuss the challenges and opportunities in education today. In addition, NBC News will turn Rockefeller Plaza into a “Learning Plaza," a series of five galleries, open to the public, which will allow visitors to explore America's educational "ecosystem." During the entire week of September 26th, NBC News will highlight education stories as well as broadcast live from the Plaza.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EVENT WILL INCLUDE:
- SUMMIT WITH TOP LEADERS IN EDUCATION: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Harlem Children Zone’s CEO Geoffrey Canada, and President of MIT Susan Hockfield will be among those in attendance at the Education Nation Summit.
- SPECIAL APPEARANCES: The Summit will feature several presentations from guests, including a speech on improving the lives of children from U.S. General Colin Powell, Founding Chairman of America’s Promise Alliance, and Alma Powell, Chair of America’s Promise Alliance.
- MULTI-MEDIA COVERAGE: During the entire week of Education Nation, "Nightly News," "Today," "Meet the Press," MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, msnbc.com, iVillage.com, and EducationNation.com will highlight stories in education.
- TEACHER TOWN HALL: On Sept. 26th, NBC's Brian Williams will talk with thousands of teachers on-air and online about critical issues facing educators.
- THE STUDENT VIEW: The Scholastic Kids Press Corp will cover the Summit from the student perspective.
- INTERACTIVE EXHIBITS: The latest tools and technologies used in award-winning classrooms across the country will be on display in Learning Plaza.
CREDIT FOR ARTICLE: NBC NEWS - Education Nation : http://www.educationnation.com/
Posted by Nicholas F. Sacca at 12:01 PM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law (CAL), today marked up legislation he authored to restore fairness in student lending by treating privately issued student loans in bankruptcy the same as other types of unsecured debt.
The Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2010 (H.R. 5043) was today marked up in CAL, which Congressman Cohen chairs. Before changes were made to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005, only government issued or guaranteed student loans were effectively nondischargeable during bankruptcy. This protection has been in place since 1978 and was intended to safeguard federal investments in higher education.
The Cohen bill would restore the pre-2005 treatment of private student loan debt in bankruptcy. For the past decade, private student loans have been the fastest growing and most profitable part of the student loan industry. According to the College Board, roughly 15 percent of total student borrowing is in private student loans. Ten years ago, only five percent of total education loan volume was in private loans.
The interest rates and fees on private loans can be as onerous as credit cards. There are reports of private loans with interest rates of at least 15 percent, and higher rates are not unheard of. This can place a tremendous burden on student borrowers with private loans and, unlike federal student loans, there is no government-imposed loan limit on private loans and no public regulation over the terms and cost of these loans.
Private loans involve only private profit and do not have the protections that government borrowers enjoy, including caps on interest rates, flexible repayment options, and limited cancellation rights. Most types of unsecured debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy, with only a few exceptions for very strong public policy reasons. For example, the Bankruptcy Code makes it especially difficult for people to escape child support responsibilities, overdue taxes, and criminal fines. Privately issued student loans should not be on that list.
Congressman Cohen is a longtime advocate of making higher education more affordable and accessible, most notably through the establishment of the Tennessee Lottery.
Posted by Nicholas F. Sacca at 3:33 PM
Monday, September 13, 2010
The number of college students defaulting on their federal student loans is climbing, and those who attend for-profit schools remain the most likely group to default, according to new government data released Monday.
The U.S. Department of Education says numbers from fiscal year 2008 show 7 percent of borrowers of federal student loans default within two years of beginning repayment, up from 6.7 percent the previous year.
The default rate for students at for-profit schools rose from 11 percent to 11.6 percent.
For-profit colleges are fighting proposed Education Department regulations that would cut off federal aid to for-profit college programs if too many of their students default on loans or don't earn enough after graduation to repay them.
.© 2010 CNBC.com
Posted by Nicholas F. Sacca at 10:31 AM
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
President Barack Obama's new stimulus plan directs government assistance to some of the strongest parts of the economy without solving the biggest problem: finding work for the 14.9 million unemployed.
The three main ideas he plans to introduce Wednesday—$50 billion in infrastructure spending plus two sets of business tax incentives—could provide a modest burst of activity in a slow-growing economy.
The risk is that they succeed only in pulling forward planned investments, which would do little to spur hiring and alter the sluggish growth trajectory.
"They could be helpful but are unlikely to have a large effect on growth," said Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius.
Some of the proposed programs cover multiple years, spreading out the potential benefit; others are merely modifications or extensions of old ideas or policies, he said.
The White House hopes the programs will get idled construction workers back on the job and shake loose some of the spare cash held at corporations if it can convince wary lawmakers to go along.
The infrastructure plan—the most likely of the three proposals to generate a significant number of jobs—may face a particular fierce challenge in Congress.
Republicans and some deficit-hawk Democrats have repeatedly blocked spending packages for fear of adding to an already large budget gap.
The timing also looks challenging with only about a month left before lawmakers leave to prepare for November elections.
Obama administration officials argue that the United States is grappling with two deficits, budget and jobs, and can't afford to ignore either. The jobless rate hit 9.6 percent last month and is likely to drift higher in the coming months. As long as it remains elevated, demand will be subdued.
But there is reason to doubt whether the business incentives will do much to close the jobs gap.
Tax writeoffs for plant and equipment investment may not generate much new activity because there is plenty of unused factory space available. Capacity usage was 7 percentage points below normal as of
July, according to Federal Reserve data.
And businesses were busily buying equipment and software even without special tax writeoffs. Those categories grew at a 25 percent clip in the more recent quarter, which marked the third consecutive period of double digit growth.
The third idea, research and development tax breaks, is a recycled policy proposal that is normally renewed every year and therefore unlikely to spark a major new wave of investment.
And it would likely benefit larger companies far more than the small businesses that remain reluctant to hire.
Obama acknowledges there is no magic policy prescription that can repair the badly damaged job market. But his critics propose a laundry list of ideas including lower payroll taxes, a public works program akin to those of the Great Depression, or perhaps offering older workers early full retirement benefits to help young people get on the job ladder.
Brian Bethune, an economist with IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, said Obama's latest proposals fell short in addressing the needs of small businesses which normally account for the biggest portion of new jobs.
Large businesses, particularly those that export to fast-growing economies such as Brazil, China and India, have fared far better than their smaller counterparts in recent months, and that shows up in their hiring decisions.
The National Federation of Independent Business's monthly employment survey showed small companies remain reluctant to hire. NFIB has said its members are most concerned about sluggish sales, but their worry list also includes taxes, healthcare costs and regulatory reforms.
Companies with fewer than 50 workers employ almost three times as many people as firms with more than 500 employees.
Wall Street Shrugs
Even if Obama's proposals succeed in encouraging business investment, they may be borrowing from future quarters, much like tax incentives for home buyers that drove a frenzy of activity followed by the steepest sales decline on record.
"You just change the timing," Bethune said. "That creates distortion and noise in the quarterly pattern of economic activity."
Wall Street seemed unimpressed by the stimulus proposal. Major stock indexes were lower at midday, dragged down by fresh worries about economic growth prospects in Europe.
Andrew Busch, a currency and public policy strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago, said there were big question marks about how Obama intended to pay for them.
"If he chooses to take away a corporate tax break to pay for this proposal, the net gain is zero," he said. "This is likely why U.S. stocks are not seeing much of a bounce on the news."
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.© 2010 CNBC.com
Posted by Nicholas F. Sacca at 4:28 PM