Obama’s Focus on Value of Higher Education

Obama administration looks to Post-Secondary Schools to Emphasize Value

It is the American Dream to go to college & graduate with opportunities for prosperity & success, but the reality of post-college debt is outweighing these values for students considerably.

Here’s the American reality:

  • The federal government allocates $140 billion annually into federal grants & loans
  • On average, students with loans graduate with more than $25,000 in debt
  • About 40% of students attending 4-year schools do not graduate
  • Only 40% of students attending 2-year schools graduate or transfer

Consequently, unemployment rates remain high & there are projected shortages of highly trained workers in many industries. In the last decade, literacy among college students has declined according to a commission convened during the George W. Bush administration that said American higher ed. has become “increasingly risk-averse, at times self-satisfied, & unduly expensive.”

Everyone Pays the Price

The price of college dropouts is not only costly for the individual but for taxpayers as well. About 1/5 of full-time students who enroll at a community college do not return for a second year, costing hundreds of millions of dollars annually in taxes.

The cost of higher ed. challenges the expense of success among college graduates. President Obama weighed in with a strong “yes” for post-secondary schools to be more transparent about both.

For additional statistics & information visit:

By: Mel Bishop

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Minnesota,”Let’s Get Back to Work”

New program aims to improve airports and create job opportunities in southern Minnesota

Congress has appropriated $564 million to build and repair new and existing airports in Minnesota.

The spending is part of the government’s “Let’s Get Back to Work” program that aims to create job opportunities for laid off workers in construction and engineering.

President Obama said, “This is a small price to pay to help folks out who want to work.”

Yet Obama’s critics say the agenda is too costly. It is likely that this plan can cost up to $1 trillion if further developed.

Some of the local airports receiving significant money from the “Let’s Get Back to Work” program include:

Other airports in Minnesota receiving grants are Faribault, Jackson, Owatonna and Rushford.

Top Twitter search apps for journalistic means

Last week in class with Ellen Mrja, we examined several Twitter application tools that make for a more productive experience while discovering real-time news & information on Twitter. While it is safe to say there are loads of search applications, their interfaces, search options and overall effectiveness vary. Feeling overwhelmed by the endless list of services, I went on to explore some of these to find what search applications work best for me.

For class we are assigned to find  follow-up information on the conflict between Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Planned Parenthood that began after Komen announced their decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Since then, the new policy has been overturned after Komen abruptly faced a monumental stream of criticism on Twitter and Facebook. Over the weekend I visited several Twitter search applications to inquire any new information that has arose since Komen’s decision to overturn their new policy.

Here are the top Twitter search services I found accommodating:

Twitter Search
Twendz
Tweefind
Twazzup

Twitter Search

Twitter Search is hosted on the official Twitter server. I thought it was a good place to start my research before outsourcing to unfamiliar search applications. I searched “Susan G. Komen,” “Planned Parenthood,” and “Susan G. Komen Planned Parenthood.” Results of my searches showed avatars of tweeters, links to original tweets, time and date of tweet and what application he or she used to send tweet out. Twitter Search also gives you the option to view all tweet search results or just the top tweets. Here are 3 tweets I found valuable during my search from respectable newsrooms:

NBC Nightly News & CNN Breaking News tweeted links to new stories of Karen Handel’s resignation and her alleged involvement with Komen’s decision to cut Planned Parenthood funding. The Washington Post linked news story of Komen’s CEO Nancy Brinker’s letter in response to an open letter written by  Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn.

Twendz

Twendz highlights and analyzes conversation themes and updates new tweets as they happen. This search application alerts users of heating topics, conversation trends, and points of view. In the left column, users are also able to determine speed in which Twendz updates new tweets as well as provide a word cloud and list of popular subtopics. Here is a screen shot:

The main drawback I had with Twendz is that its results include tweets from all languages. However, I did stumble on a few tweets that provided reliable links for non-bias information. One in particular is the third one down on the screen shot from @nickc3. I viewed the tweet and clicked the link that brought me to a Banyan Branch blog. The info graphics showed that both Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure saw a striking increase in Twitter mentions after the controversy rose but Komen was the focal point with a 62%/38% ratio in tweet mentions. The conversation hit its all-time high with 159,999 tweets when Komen made its announcement to overturn its decision while at the same time notable resignations from the organization were making news. What I found to be the most surprising from the blog is the news that Planned Parenthood actually came out of the controversy with more supporters than ever and in addition to new funding.

Tweefind

What I like about Tweefind is that you are able to filter search results to English tweets only or links only. It also provides links to related searches of the topic so you can expand your search with other popular keywords. Here is a screen shot:

The only advice I have for new users of Tweefind is to search for information using several alternative keywords to find the best results. I was able to find a link to a Huffington Post article about democratic senators launching “One Million Strong for Women” campaign that would be vital to include for a follow-up story.

Twazzup

Twazzup has actually become my favorite search application so far. It’s interface is my favorite because it’s dashboard of real-time stream of twitter updates, highlighted tweets, a list of top influencers; recent-related news stories, photos, and links that users are tweeting and retweeting about the searched topic. It also lists related hashtags, keywords, and top retweeted tweeters to the searched topic. I searched “Susan G. Koman AND Planned Parenthood. Here is a screen shot:

I utilized this search service last and discovered all of  the  round-up information I found for the Komen and Planned Parenthood story could be found using Twazzup’s dashboard features. The only issue here is there are too many broad results instead of the best results.

If you haven’t used one of these Twitter search applications I urge you to take a few minutes on each one and navigate through the process to see what’s being said right now and most importantly, to find see if some of these search apps work for you . If there are any other search applications you find more helpful please comment and share them below.