This radio interview with North Carolina state Rep. Rick Glazier last week has stayed with me. Glazier and state Rep. Ray Rapp were reacting to the Republican handling of education after gaining control of the North Carolina legislature in January 2011. Glazier explained it with this story:
Sort of mind-boggling. Maybe an opening script at the beginning of this session was a precursor to what happened.
There was a Republican legislator who has been there several terms … she had a question early on, because Representative Rapp and I did chair for four years that appropriations committee, and she said, “How much do we spend on financial aid for needs-based kids going to college in North Carolina?”
I think my answer at the time we were looking at it was somewhere around $175-$200 million dollars was need-based. And she said, “Well, I don’t understand why we spend any.”
And I stopped for a minute, and I said, “What do you mean?”
She said, “Well, if you can’t afford to go to college, then you shouldn’t go, until you can.”
And I said, “Well, you understand that would make our colleges strictly for the wealthy, and would create a disincentive for anyone – particularly in a recession and a down economy – to think they could ever pay, get together the money. They can barely get together the money to pay their bills, to hold onto their mortgage. And you’re talking about them not having any assistance from the government – any grants, any loan capacity – to go to college, to improve themselves, to re-train and re-skill.”
And she looked at me, she goes, “Well, it seems to me if you save up the money, you go work, and until you have the money, you ought not go. And I just don’t think we ought to be paying any money for need-based.”
And I will tell you, that it’s probably one of the few times that I’ve been in the legislature that I was so astounded by the philosophic difference that I just stood there and thought, if that view ever prevails here, we will have a very different society than the one we all want to have.
Local Edge Radio, 880 AM, Asheville, NC — March 5, 2012, Hour 2 [Timestamp 22:30]
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