Education & Schools
Harkin Weekend Events Aimed at Mobilizing Iowa Students to Prevent Loan Rate Hike PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Richard Martin   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:14

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced several events in Iowa this weekend aimed at mobilizing students to prevent a rate hike on certain federal Stafford loans.  On July 1st, the fixed interest rate of 3.4 percent on current loans is set to double to 6.8 percent on new loans.  Some 7.4 million Americans students – including an estimated 255,000 students enrolled in Iowa colleges and universities – would be required to pay an average of $1,000 more in interest per year of school if this happens.

Senator Harkin has introduced the ‘Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike’ – an immediate remedy that will freeze the interest rates on subsidized federal Stafford loans for one year.   Though the bill is completely paid for by closing a tax loophole, Senate Republicans blocked a vote to even move forward on the bill.  

A full list of his public events follows.

Friday, May 18th:

1:00 P.M. Student Loan Event
Location: Scott Community College
Kahl Educational Center, Room 1006
326 W. Third Street
Davenport

Senator Harkin will speak with students from Scott Community College, Palmer College of Chiropractic and St. Ambrose University about the impending rate hike and his work as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Saturday, May 19th:

9:00 A.M. Student Loan Event
Location: DMACC Urban Campus
1100 7th Street
Building 1, Room 103
Des Moines

Senator Harkin will speak with students from DMACC about the impending rate hike and his work as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

11:00 A.M. Student Loan Event
Location: DMACC Boone Campus
1125 Hancock Drive
Room 171/173 (NE Side of the building)
Boone

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Empower Kids by Giving Them ‘Keys to Peace’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:07
Well-Meaning Parents Often Fail to Teach Vital Values, Author Says

Parents and educators are always trying to spark student participation whether it’s in the classroom, in the local community, or throughout the world.

When middle-school students at Allison Academy in North Miami Beach were asked what they could do to improve their country, they focused on what they understood – bullying, violence and racism.

Those problems are all rooted in the same issues, says Rachel Albert, author of “Quest to Telos,” (www.QuestToTelos.com), a young adult novel where fantasy meets reality and even world peace is possible.

“They stem from a lack of personal integrity and absence of social responsibility,” she says.

“Children who choose to put those values into practice are actively working toward peace. But they can only put into practice what they’ve learned; instilling those values may seem simple, but many parents miss the mark and actually model the opposite.”

Throwing money at social problems like racism or violence doesn’t resolve them, Albert says. But children can.

“The energy from kids’ excitement can make a real difference and we need their energy focused right here at home,” says the mother of four. “They see problems; it’s up to us to give them the tools to address them.”

The following tips can help parents teach their children personal integrity and social responsibility, giving them the keys to world peace.

• Never lie in front of your kids. It may seem obvious, but many parents lie in front of their children or encourage them to lie; misstating a child’s age to save money on movie tickets or allowing them to take credit for school projects completed by the parent.  These seemingly inconsequential lies suggest it’s OK, even good, to distort the truth. This causes long-term damage a million times more costly than whatever was gained in the short term.

• Give your kids a reason why. Author Mark Twain once said that the two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you figure out why.  If you fail to tell your kids why we are here, you have missed the opportunity to
figure out what motivates them and gets them excited. This is the most important key to getting kids’ cooperation and empowering them to help the world.

• Don’t criticize your children. Criticism is toxic, so why do almost all parents criticize their kids?  When we focus on what they aren’t, they believe they can’t. This creates angry children who express their pain by bullying others.  It’s better to tell them how you feel rather than what you think of them, e.g., “I feel frustrated that you didn’t listen to me,” or “Can you say that in a more loving way?”

• Don’t speak badly about other people. This is probably one of the hardest things to do, considering we’re a generation that pays for gossip.  Speaking badly about others teaches kids to look for what they view as the negative in others and take joy in sharing it.

• Model charity. Actions speak louder than any words. When you teach kindness to children, they tend to feel empathy and have more successful lives, a crucial step toward achieving world peace.

Once we tackle the issues plaguing America, then as a model nation, we will be ready to tackle world peace, Albert says. Kids are hungry to form an identity and make their mark on the world. It’s easier to try to bring peace to another country, but that never works. We need to start at home.

About Rachel Albert

Rachel Albert is a certified court reporter and business owner. “Quest to Telos” is her debut novel; it’s being used by a private school to develop an inspirational, critical-thinking curriculum for middle-school students ready by the summer. Albert is currently working on a sequel. She is a staunch advocate of boosting teen literacy while inspiring kids to make a difference starting with their own hearts.

 
In Iowa’s Interest: The Impact of the Stafford Loan Rate Hike on Iowa Students PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:06

by Senator Tom Harkin

Many Iowa students have taken their final exams, packed up for the summer, and may have even started a summer job. What they may not realize, however, is that a debate is raging on in Washington right now that could have a significant impact on the interest rate they pay on their federal student loans next school year.

On July 1st of this year, interest rates are set to double on new loans if Congress does not take action. Working with my colleagues, I have introduced the ‘Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike’ – a short-term remedy that will freeze the interest rates on subsidized federal Stafford loans for one year. And the bill is completely paid for by closing a tax loophole.

Unfortunately, Senate Republicans blocked a vote to even move forward on the bill. As long as they continue their filibuster, there is no clear way forward to prevent the rate hike less than two months from now.

Who will be impacted?

Some 7.4 million Americans students – including an estimated 255,000 students enrolled in Iowa colleges and universities – would be required to pay an average of $1,000 more per year of school if Senate Republicans continue to block this fix. And this is a very big deal for Iowa. Nearly 72 percent of Iowa’s college graduates have student loan debt – the fourth highest percentage in the nation. Those borrowers are carrying an average of $30,000 in student loan debt, which is the third highest level in the nation.

What is the current interest rate on Stafford loans and how much will it rise?

The fixed interest rate on current loans, held by 7.4 million low and middle-income undergraduates across the U.S., is currently 3.4 percent. Unfortunately, the rate is set to double to 6.8 percent on new loans starting July 1. That would mean an increase of about $1,000 for each loan payer per year.

Is student loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy like other debt?

No – student loan debt, unlike other forms of debt, is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. And in today’s tough economy, it is unacceptable to ask middle class students and families to shoulder sharply higher student loan interest payments.

For more information about the ‘Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike’ or to tell me your story of how this rate hike would impact you, please visit my website at www.harkin.senate.gov, click on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tomharkin or contact any of my offices across Iowa and in Washington, D.C.

A PDF version of the column is available by clicking here.

 
Luther College students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Julie Shockey   
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 09:01

DECORAH, IA (05/15/2012)(readMedia)-- The following local students were inducted into the Luther College chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa national academic honor society at a ceremony held Saturday, April 14 in the Center for Faith and Life on the Luther campus:

Jennifer Winder, a Luther College senior from Bettendorf, Iowa. Winder is the daughter of Marie and Troy Winder of Bettendorf. She is majoring in Spanish at Luther, and is a 2008 graduate of Bettendorf High School.

Dallas Wulf, a Luther College senior from Durant, Iowa. Wulf is the son of Neil and Chris Wulf of Durant. He is majoring in mathematics and physics at Luther, and is a 2008 graduate of Durant High School.

Carol Gilbertson, Luther professor emerita of English, was inducted as an honorary member. James Limburg, professor emeritus of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., was inducted as an alumnus member.

Gilbertson delivered the Ruth A. Davis Memorial Lecture, titled "Slow Beauty."

Gilbertson was named emerita professor of English following her retirement from Luther College in 2011, having taught for 43 years as a member of the English department. After graduating from Augustana College, S.D., earned the master of arts degree from the University of North Carolina and the doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota, with a specialization in 17th-century British literature.

She has served Luther as an active scholar and poet, and recently published a collection of her poetry entitled "From a Distance, Dancing" (Finishing Line Press). Gilbertson has also published work in a wide range of journals, including Christian Century, Oberton, Pearl Magazine, and Vineyards: A Journal of Christian Poetry.

James Limburg graduated from Luther College in 1956. He holds the bachelor of divinity degree from Luther Seminary, and the master of theology and the doctoral degree from Union Seminary. He is currently professor emeritus of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Since retiring in 2001, Limburg has served as a visiting professor at Pacific Lutheran Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., and United Seminary in New Brighton, Minn. He continues to teach and preach at a variety of churches in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Limburg has published a number of books on a variety of topics, and is a contributing author on the "Lutheran Study Bible" (Augsburg).

Luther College (http://www.luther.edu) is one of a select group of private liberal arts colleges in the United States with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Each year, Luther honors outstanding seniors with selection to Phi Beta Kappa. Members are elected on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement and good character.

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most respected undergraduate honors organization in the United States. The society has fostered and recognized excellence in the liberal arts and sciences since 1776, and the society's distinctive emblem, a golden key, is widely recognized as a symbol of academic achievement.

 
Loebsack Introduces Legislation to Connect Rural Schools to the Digital World PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 09:56

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack recently introduced legislation that will target rural schools to ensure they have access to the latest digital learning technologies.  The Schools of the Future Act will provide grants to transform the typical classroom experience into one that is more student-centered and provides teachers with more accurate information and feedback on student progress so that they can better address the needs of struggling students. Loebsack is co-chair of the bipartisan Rural Education Caucus.

“Technology has the power to vastly expand the educational options available to students in rural areas, providing students with a cutting-edge 21st Century education regardless of geography,” said Loebsack.  “Digital technology holds great potential for rural schools, which often have trouble recruiting and retaining teachers and offering a variety of electives or advanced coursework.”

This legislation builds off of the work already being done in Iowa.  For example, the Iowa Department of Education is working with the University of Iowa to develop the Iowa Online Advance Placement Academy to deliver Advanced Placement courses to high school students across the state, particularly rural and small schools that may not have the capacity to provide these courses themselves, using online technology. The Iowa Department of Education also runs Iowa Learning Online (ILO), which allows students from across the state to enroll in any number of distance education courses, including high school credit classes and post-secondary courses available through Iowa community colleges and universities.

Specifically, the legislation Loebsack introduced will provide funding for schools to implement digital learning strategies such as:

· providing expanded curriculum opportunities,

· providing accelerated or advanced coursework, or

· personalizing the learning experience by providing content that is tailored to an individual student’s learning style, ability, and needs.

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