tv Washington Journal Adam Harris CSPAN July 31, 2019 6:57pm-7:32pm EDT
he understands the power of ideas. and with that kind of foundation and intellectual foundation, a political leader can do all kinds of marvelous things.>> lee edwards will be our guest on in-depth, sunday, from noon until 2 pm eastern. is the author of a collection of biographies of william buckley, and michael reagan. join our conversation with your questions. watch in-depth with author lee
edwards live on sunday from noon until 2 pm eastern. and watch live coverage of the 2019 national book festival on saturday, august 31st on c span 2. >> we are back with our spotlight on magazine segment and we are talking to adam harris about his article, the education deserts of rural america. good morning.>> first of all, what made you focus on this particular issue?>> at the aspen idea festival that is hosted by the atlantic, essentially, remarked on how educational opportunities are not the same for people in room layer, as they are in urban cities and that comes back to this research that come out that essentially show how the gap
has grown between urban environments and rural environments. so what you see is that in rural environments have a closing of the gap of people who have high school degrees. essentially you are about as likely to have a degree in rural america as you are in urban america. the grab has gone. has gone from 15% to 19% and it is a small increase. but, the gap for people who are in urban america has grown more. you've gone from about 26% to 33%. that gap has extended and is widening. as you see in places like the university of alaska where they have lost 41% of their budget in one fell swoop and in rural american education options are declining. it is a serious problem. >> let me make sure i
understand. you are saying that the gap between completion of high school degrees has shrunk between urban and rural, but the gap between people who finish college is increasing from urban to rural. >> in particular i should specify we are talking for your degrees. if you're thinking about things like two-year degrees or other credentials, that gap may look a little different, but if you're thinking about a four year college degree, that gap.>> we have always done a lot of moving from rural to urban areas. does that have anything to do with increasing that gap between completion or for your degrees from urban to rural areas?>> there is a thought that maybe it is due to people that live in rural areas getting a college degree and moving out of the area. that also says a lot about the job opportunities in rural areas. in terms of decline of
manufacturing and things like that. if you are really thinking broadly, there are still opportunities in rural america. people have gotten degrees and lived there. my family was kind of the same way. there are couple of concerning factors here, particularly as states invest in higher education and if you look in montana where will one and three people live more than 60 miles away from the nearest college, you have the outlines of a very serious problem.>> like you, i am a third generation college graduate. so with universities going online, is not going to have an effect on this gap in rural areas? can't they take classes online?>> people do take classes online. but and actually at the university of alaska the governor suggested after they made the 41% cut to the budget,
it was about $130 million, he said people could live stream classes if they were in areas far away. but according to a recent report , only about 63% of people in rural areas have broadband access in their homes. that would require going to a library or going somewhere else to do that work. so in terms of this being and ease of access thing, just go online, it can be kind of a systemic problem that we have. >> let's talk about it. what is going on with higher education in alaska? what exactly are we talking about that happened? >> late last month the governor of alaska vetoed hundred -- $130 million of the system budget. what that meant is that the legislature had to override the veto or the university was
going to have to start cutting jobs and start a plan to remove senior professors and they would potentially have to close the campus. then they had about two weeks to do this. as of yesterday, that was the deadline for them to override this veto and the legislature failed to override it. so essentially yesterday the university of alaska system lost more than $130 million of its budget. which, of course, is going to do disastrous things for the system and in a state like alaska with three major colleges that they may have to start cutting programs and faculty and potentially campuses.>> if you want to join this conversation about this, we want to open up our regional phone lines to you. if you are in the eastern or central time zone, your phone
number is (202) 748-8000. if you are in the mountain or pacific time zone, your phone number is (202) 784-8001. keep in mind, we are always reading on twitter. and we are always on facebook. this is a question we are always asking and we are both reporters and editors always ask. why does this matter? why does it matter that there is a gap between people who are getting degrees in rural areas versus urban areas? why does any of that matter. >> if you are thinking broadly about what education was meant to be, you think about the founders of what it could be that you had people like james madison and benjamin rush and george washington arguing for national universities.
these were places where people could learn the arts and sciences and very practical skills and they can also learn how to be citizens. if you look in 1940 with the truman commission they said colleges could be places where people could be good citizens. and now we have shifted to this kind of situation where we see colleges as a private good. you get your business degree so you can make money as opposed to you get a business degree so it stimulates the economy. we think about places like tennessee, the reason why they have invested in higher education is they see the practical benefit to the economy. one of the reasons why this matters in particular is it is the economic stimulation of the state and of the country. more educated people that you have, the more stimulated the economy is. i'm glad you brought up tennessee. several states, including southern states, are offering those free community colleges, free first two years for students. are we seeing more rural states moved to this area and form of
getting people into the universities? or, does it even matter if they try that? >> it is a patchwork in terms of where college programs have popped up in the country. dozens of states have launched either free tuition programs for community colleges or a form -- free, quote unquote programs for low income students in particular. university of texas said it would offer scholarships to any student whose families made less than $60,000 a year. so if you're thinking big picture, then there has been an explosion of precollege programs, especially leading into this democratic primary where several candidates have proposed a national model. so that is something that could take hold nationally but states are doing it.>> let's go to the phone lines. let's talk to myrna from chicago. good morning.>> i want to talk about the online courses.
i am a senior citizen, so i'm not actually going to college. i really find that the choice of courses, particularly not hands-on courses like chemistry or engineering, but more of the liberal arts and fine arts courses for a very reasonable price like they are 75 or hundred dollars. and you can sign up for a course that are extremely good because it is an half hour segments and they are so well structured. you get a reading book on the side. it's a good idea for people that want to take courses maybe that are too far away or take courses that may not have job opportunities. let's say, like literature or history. thank you. >> before he answers your question, i want to say to you it does not matter how old you are. you can always go back to school. knowledge is always a good
thing to have. go ahead and answer.>> universities have been building out for online education for the last several years. if you think of places like southern new hampshire university or arizona state university, which has gone and grown into this hundred thousand student enterprise and the way that they are thinking about access and affordability and also online education, it is remarkable. but they are also trying to figure out now how to have that classroom experience of a program like chemistry or program like physics and make sure that the online experience is as robust as the experience in the classroom.>> we have an online viewer that wants you to addressed how the student loan issue affects college attendance. let's talk specifically about the education dessa fit. is it harder to get loans in
rural areas or are they just difficult to get all the way around? >> student loans will be -- since we switched over from bank based lending to direct lending, all student loans, at least federal student loans will go to the federal government. so students will still be able to get unsubsidized loans up to a certain point of the federal limit. and typically if you are thinking about state institutions, they will be less expensive than a private institution. so you're not thinking about $20,000 a year. you are thinking more likes seven or $8000, which typically , student loans would be able to cover that. but i think that right now people are rethinking the way that student loans are being -- are factoring in to basically how to pay for college. if you're looking at what student loans were originally supposed to be, they were supposed to be a tool in the toolbox to pay for college and
now it feels necessary to take out student loans in order to get a college education. candidates and policymakers are rethinking how college can be affordable and still remain something that you don't have to go into debt for. >> in these education deserts, are there more private universities or public universities that are available to students? are those deserts only served by public universities? >> it is a mix. you do have small, private universities in rural economies but you also have small regional public universities. one of the issues that we are seeing, particularly as state funding is being cut is the smaller public universities are having to reduce their program. so say they might get rid of some liberal arts programs or they might become more around a
single issue and this is one thing that we focus on and we hone in on an altogether programs get what resources are left over. so we are seeing a strangling of university budgets and colleges have to pick and choose what they are doing in order to serve students. actually got the chronicle of higher education ran a very interesting article the other day about the term, cannot be everything to everyone. so -- you know, the local university is cutting a geography program and emphasizing a physics program, and what you lose when they cut those. >> let's talk to gary from virginia. good morning. >> actually, it's barry. thank you for this program. i was not ever interested in rural education until i just did a study for the commercial real estate industry on reducing the workforce gap. i think that's the economic development issue to me far outweighs whether or not there
is an education gap. i think the fact that most of these rural communities in the united states really are concerned about the labor shortage that they have. and they are trying to find ways to keep their talented people in the rural areas and not move to the cities or the suburbs. that to me is the issue. and its job development and not so much the education gap. that will follow -- once you get the kids in high school involved in the local economy, and the business community knows that there and to survive without talent coming back to them, they get involved. i have looked at three or four programs in rural areas where many kids never thought they were college material and never enrolled because they got involved in the local economy. so just to provide some balance, economic development is the goal. it is not going to college.>> so i guess that is one argument
that with economic development. in getting people going to an area will follow. there's also the argument that one of the reasons why amazon may have come to northern virginia is because there are more educated people in northern virginia. there is a question of is it the chicken or the egg situation. is the economic development falling the talent or is the talent following the development? i don't think they have to be mutually exclusive. i think that you can both have an economic development and also invest in education to kind of build work together. if you look at arizona state, one of the things that they do is partner with industries and develop programs that tie some of those skills that companies will need to the curriculum. so i think that there still is a lot of work to be done in terms of economic development in rural areas, but there is a lot of work to be done in terms
of college attainment in rural areas. >> one of the things we have not talked about in this conversation is the role of private, for-profit universities. are we seeing those kinds of schools try to fill in the gaps between the private university, the public university? do we see those for-profit universities slipping into the gap where there are people who want that education but they are not available?>> i guess, over the last decade, i guess two decades he did see an explosion of the for-profit education sector in rural areas. but you recently see those colleges between like itt tech closing and most recently the virginia college closing. and i spoke with a couple students in alabama immediately after that, the closure of virginia college late last year. and they were wondering what do i do next? it seemed like a path for me for.
my credits may not transfer to another institution and what do i do next. so some for-profit institutions have moved into these areas to fill that gap. but there is still a need for a public affordable option if you're thinking of education of the public good, why isn't there a public option that is affordable. >> let's talk to ryan who is calling from silver spring, maryland. good morning.>> private colleges have a particularly high dropout rate. with people spending large amounts of money and not getting a degree, do you see that service as still being valuable?>> so one of the weakest problems that we are facing right now is people who have done a little bit of college and who have taken on debt and then have not finished their degree and then they are responsible for paying off that debt without the benefit of that college degree. and that is a very serious
problem that a lot of people are trying to figure out how to deal with. there is an interesting program out of wayne state university called the warrior way back where essentially they are helping people who have done a little bit of college, dropped out and are interested in returning. they are helping them get in the door and get through college. so there is a lot of thought about what to do about the stopgap prices that if you are dropping out, and you're taking a break and you may come back. so to pull some of those people back in so that the debt burden isn't just sitting there without the benefit of the college degree.>> this is washington so everything has a political bend here. i'm going to read to you what you wrote in one of your stories about this issue. polls have shown that confidence in higher education overall has decreased in the past few years. a survey found that 61% of
americans are worried about the past path that they are on. democrats think the cost of tuition is too high and that they're not getting the skills they need for the workplace. republicans overwhelmingly hold negative views of the sector. 73% thought that higher education was going in the wrong direction as opposed to 52% of democrats. a 2018 gallup poll found that 39% of republicans expressed a lot of confidence in the sector. for many republicans the mistrust of democrats and the mistrust of institutions collide when it comes to higher education. they see colleges and universities of having a liberal bend. they show that college leadership liens liberal and liberal professors outnumber conservative once on campus. is this what is causing this problem with these education deserts?>> you are seeing this
mistrust of institutions, the mistrust of higher education spilling into how they are viewed by politicians. if you're even thinking of things like president trump's recent executive order about campus speech, kind of threatening universities with pulling federal research dollars if they didn't protect the speech on campus, which colleges and universities, got one of the fundamental reasons we are here is to protect free speech on campus or free speech more broadly. but you have seen this mistrust of institutions and the things they do spill over into saying if you're not doing the things that we believe that you are supposed to be doing, then you should not be using taxpayer funds to do the thing that we think is a bad thing.>> is that is what is happening? a battle
between political viewpoints more than a battle over education?>> it is a mix of things because one of the things is that education -- higher education in particular is a very easy thing for states to cut. if they are looking to balance their budget, higher education will be one of the first places they go to. it is easier than cutting healthcare and even though states do that as well. the place to will see the most significant cuts, in part because of the mistrust of the institutions and the thought that if you're not aligning graduates to jobs as well as we think you should be, or if you're not doing the job that we think you should be doing, then you should not be getting those additional resources in order to do, i guess, malicious things toward potentially one side or the other.>> let's talk to liz from new jersey. >> good morning. i have some familiarity with
rural areas because my mother hails from them. and then she left to come to philadelphia to get employment and skills from the medical field. so she had to uproot herself. her father before her went to ohio and had to work there five days a week for railroad company. so this is not -- they had part of the rust belt that trump took in the election. but all of the industries up there that paid anything related to coal, steel, and oil industries. and since they are on the decline and not in the area and closed down a lot of factories that baby boomers worked, not
that many years ago, they have some small state colleges and some small pricey colleges. but unless the family has money right now from when they had real jobs in that area, their children and grandchildren have a hard time getting to a college and paying for it. it is not around the corner. they average about 60 to 100 miles from places like pittsburgh, erie, and the cleveland area. so i think what we need to do -- why can't some of those types of jobs, just like parts of the car are done in different places, why can't part of these be done in places like the rust belt. and they do have people that are capable of learning that.
a lot of my cousins children and grandchildren have advanced degrees that they've had to leave the areas. so you have a whole generation of baby boomers aging with children quite some distance away. >> i think this gets back to one of the earlier questions of economic development in rural areas in places -- and businesses moving to these areas in order to provide the stimulus. i think it does have to be a two-pronged thing where business has to get into those areas and states have to have the shift to say that we believe that an investment in the education of people in this area is important in order to attract them. one of the interesting things around colleges is they become economic drivers for areas on their own. if you have a university, the people who work for the
university and then businesses will want to come to be attached to the research there. so i think that there is -- there is a partnership in those things that are fundamentally linked that needs to be addressed and it is certainly something that i will be watching on the campaign trail. >> what is the solution for closing down the education deserts? >> greater investment in higher education is one of the first answers, right? were states have to be viewing college not as something that only helps the individual, but as something that helps people more broadly. and when we are thinking about education deserts, we should be thinking about two-year colleges and community colleges. and the technical schools in places where people can go and get skills in order to either get a job based on those and
whichever path suits them best, but providing the opportunity for people at got -- providing that opportunity will help states with the economic development.>> let's talk to dave calling from athens, alabama. >> good morning. adam, early in your conversation you mentioned that the higher percentage people that had college degrees of the total population got that it somehow stimulates the economy. and i'm questioning that. can you tell me where you got that from and i will hang up and get your answer. but as an aside, the photograph of the one-room schoolhouse that accompanies your article in the atlantic looks exactly like the one i went to when i was a kid in rural kansas. thank you for your response.
>> thank you. i went to college at alabama a&m. if you're looking at historically the growth of the u.s. and as the u.s. has had a boom in the economy, and -- >> we have a call from athens georgia. good morning.>> good morning. how are you? i love c-span and proud to be an american. education is the key to success and in the us we have devalued the preciousness of education. now, you lays down a great point when you came on. the founders envisioned education as being the roadmap
to being a productive, informed citizen. we have put education on the back burner. it is about self gratification and materialism. and until we are able to put the country as a priority, i don't know what we're going to do. thank you. >> thank you so much for calling him. if you're really thinking about, -- if you are thinking about the reasons why you see these large-scale government investments and even the pell grants and the g.i. bill, and -- some of these did exclude a class of people, particularly black people, but if you're thinking about why the's investments were made, it was because the people who are essentially investing in them were saying that we need to have a more educated population in order to have good citizens
more broadly and education was seen as a public good and now it is more of a private good. so until that shift happens will review education -- we may continue to see some of the problems that we are in now.>> let's go to joe who is calling from staten island, good morning.>> there good articles about education. everyone wants to increase pell grants so colleges should stop raising inflation. in high school was 8 to 10,000 a year. and books for more money. thank you. >> it is getting more
expensive.>> and the cost of college -- i should say, the sticker price has outpaced inflation. but if you are looking at what is happening to the smaller, private institutions, you've seen constriction of the sect with a become more tuition dependent, so there telling people that they have to pay more in order to attend the school, but they are also discounting it more so that the budget lines are not matching up and that is creating a lot of problems for small colleges and until there is a fundamental rethinking of that business model, a lot of schools with the difficult path ahead.>> we would like to thank adam harris talking to us about this article in atlantic. thank you so much. >> the washington journal is
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