Letters to the editor: Aug. 6 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: Aug. 6

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Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 11:40 pm | Updated: 9:50 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

 Online classes are financial benefit for colleges

A growing number of media outlets have been reporting on the purported benefits of online distance education. These reports are most enthusiastic about reducing expenses attributed to rising fuel costs. No longer must students commute to campus to receive a college education. However, higher education, like the oil industry, continues to report record profits. While the economy continues its tailspin, tuition at both public and private universities continues to skyrocket.

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OIL

More oil is needed now, develop alternatives

It was widely reported Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that oil and coal were bad for America and we should be using more alternative forms of energy such as wind and solar, but not nuclear. Will solar or wind drive the fleet of 18-wheelers that are the lifeblood of the interstate commerce that powers our local economies? This is the same blather we have been hearing from Congress for at least 30 years and still very little has been done and this indifference has brought us to close to $150 per barrel of oil with no solution in sight. The short-term solution is to increase the supply of oil to America.

Is this what changing to a Democrat-led Congress was supposed to do to our economy and taxpaying citizens? Our government is no longer responsive to the needs and wants of the American people, but rather to lobbyists who have access to large amounts of unregulated campaign cash and/or their own individual, crass political ambitions. Is it any wonder that the congressional approval rating is so far into the toilet?

The double whammy of high food prices and high fuel costs are creating a huge drag on the economy in industry after industry and will drive it right into recession if something is not done and quickly. Any short-term solution must include a big increase in the supply of oil to America while alternative sources of energy are pursued and developed.

Roger Pazul

SUN LAKES

Do-nothing attitude is detrimental

We should wean ourselves from oil, but until then, we are stuck with existing transportation. That means drilling for, and using, oil. There is not much else you can stick in that tank. We not only suffer the high price of fuel, we also pay more for everything that is delivered using that fuel.

Just the threat of drilling has forced the price of oil down. Actual drilling will force it down more. An increased supply will do that. Our problem is we haven’t been drilling due to heavy-handed environmental restrictions.

You often hear that drilling will not help for 10 years. That is a cliché not based on fact and a do-nothing mantra. Many oil producers say it won’t take nearly that long.

By all means, let’s develop new energy sources and technologies, but those technologies are countless years off. It’s not a “snap your fingers” world. The general public must buy into and have confidence that any new technology won’t have glitches — witness problems with the new iPhone. New technologies will undoubtedly require mining and digging for new ores, and schemes which involve not touching any earthly resources are not realistic.

Tom Kryka

TEMPE

TUITION COSTS

Online classes are financial benefit for colleges

A growing number of media outlets have been reporting on the purported benefits of online distance education. These reports are most enthusiastic about reducing expenses attributed to rising fuel costs. No longer must students commute to campus to receive a college education. However, higher education, like the oil industry, continues to report record profits. While the economy continues its tailspin, tuition at both public and private universities continues to skyrocket.

I recently completed teaching an online course at one of Arizona’s public universities. As a part-time employee of the university, I was paid $3,000 before taxes, half of what a full-time, tenured faculty member would make. Classes taught by untenured or adjunct faculty members like myself, who are often paid considerably less, have also increased. Thirty-five students were enrolled in a five-week course that I taught at a tuition cost of $720. In addition to tuition, each student must own or have access to a computer and pay any fees associated with Internet connection, electricity, etc. With virtually no overhead costs, the university profited $22,200 on my one course alone.

Initially, it was federally mandated that all accredited higher degree-granting institutions hold no less than half of their courses in real classrooms; it is no small wonder why Congress lifted this provision in 2006. According to the latest figures available, a little more than one-fourth of those 25 or older hold a four-year college degree and possession of a college degree nearly doubles annual earnings. No doubt a portion of these earnings will be used to pay off increasing debts associated with rising tuition costs, creating a 21st century class of indentured servants. The hidden cost of higher education, it seems, rests not with fuel costs but with debt bondage.

Christopher J. Schneider

TEMPE

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