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State of the union affects students

Written by Multimedia Editor Von Kennedy


As conflict-ridden as politics are today, VSU students can embrace some of the key points President Barack Obama emphasized in this year’s State of the Union Address on Feb. 12.

Some of the most pressing issues that will directly affect VSU students and our community as a whole are:

  • The cooperation between companies and community colleges to train workers for new careers, all coordinated through a single government program.
  • Rewards for effective schools that create and follow their own curricula and methods.
  •  State laws that require students to stay in school until graduation or age 18.
  •  Extend college tuition tax credit and double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years.
  • Tax relief for small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs.
  • Opening of offshore gas and oil fields to exploration and production.
  • Implementation of cost-saving reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
  • And finally, Congress to increase the federal minimum wage from the current level of $ 7.25 up to $9 per hour.

While we can all agree that these issues are pertinent to our future success as citizens, cooperative programs between community colleges and business mandating that students stay in high school until graduation or age 18 and the increase of the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour are most important to students.

According to the 2011-2012 VSU Factbook, VSU received 1,593 transfer applications, accepted 1,149 of them and enrolled 768 students. Of those 768 students, 478 of them came from technical or community colleges from around the state of Georgia.

The reasons for why each student started at a different institution may vary, but one goal remained in mind, higher education in order to attain a quality career in the future.

Despite more education opportunities, students fall further into debt.

But what if they completed their coursework or trade skill instead of transferring? What if companies came looking for their specialized skills once the students graduated?

With President Obama’s plan, these students in community colleges and trade schools would have a better opportunity to attain a job with their skills right out of their program rather than using their school as a conduit to transfer and hope for employment in the future.

Not only will this get more young adults into the workforce quicker, but it will help decrease our unemployment rate and maximize wages for employees because companies will pay top dollar to employ the best, young thinkers that will innovate their industries and become the future of their business.

In order to receive the previous program, you must graduate high school. That is why we believe President. Obama’s plan to keep students in high school until they graduate is a great idea.

Though this may be unpopular to high school students who struggle with grades, or have unforeseen circumstances that affect their education, but what Obama is doing is giving them a chance at success. Every person deserves a chance, whether or not they think they’re college material—school should always be an option.

Would anyone advise their younger siblings to drop out and not receive the same opportunities we receive here at VSU only because they hate math?

Life is hard, especially in high school. Motivation can come from one teacher or every teacher, but until you are in their presence, you do not know who will spark the changes you need to fulfill the potential you have in life.

Also, personal influences may not always be the best influences as a minor. School provides an outlet from the stress that your community or home life may put on you as a minor. School is where you develop social maturity and interact with adults that are not your parents in order to gain a different perspective on life.

All minors deserve this opportunity and no child should be deprived of becoming the best they can be. As VSU students that have achieved and excelled from our individual backgrounds, we must acknowledge that other young people, sibling or stranger, deserve to rise above and do great things if they choose to, just like we did.

Finally, the federal minimum wage being raised always seems to make college students happy and corporations cringe. Though companies may be shelling out $1.75 more an hour in profits to lower level employees, the big picture is most important.

The federal minimum wage at this moment can barely allow a single person with an apartment to survive in today’s fluctuating economy.

In order to keep up with the changes in gas prices, groceries and other every day expenses, we must have a wage set that will stabilize our lives in a time of such instability.

Yes, our economy is turning around, but we are still far from where it used to be.

We feel that $9 per hour will keep people making minimum wage viable in our economy rather than them using every dime to pay a bill. Plans such as this promote growth and encourage the everyday worker to keep on striving for excellence. Bringing back this initiative that Obama first spoke of during his initial presidential campaign, will “change” the morale of the people, provide “hope” for us all as we “move forward.”

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