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Commentary: U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings 2006 Federal Student Aid conference -- Las Vegas. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings spoke to some 3300 participants attending the 2006 Federal Student Aid (FSA) conference in Las Vegas. She commented on her travels to Asia to spread the word that the doors are open to foreign students who are searching for educational opportunity in America. She also said that her experience demonstrated they're hunger to learn and desire to compete with Americans as never before in the global marketplace.

"It is this hunger which I fear too often is lacking here at home as well as the focus on competitiveness that is driving Asia's education explosion." Said U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. "It is clear we must recreate our own culture that instills within our children and young adults the importance of higher education."

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings mission statement was clear, she wants to see an additional 9 million Americans earn degrees. Hey no problem... we're start right on that in the new year.

60% of Americans have no postsecondary credentials at all.

Attendees of the 2006 Federal Student Aid (FSA) conference included financial aid officers and other officials of more than 2000 colleges, as well as representatives of the lending industry, non-profit organizations, higher education associations, and software developers. Margaret Spellings continued her speech to the attendees by stating "Unfortunately, all of us know there are far too many Americans who want to go to college but don't think they can afford it."

I felt angry that she said that Americans do not hunger for a college degree. I believe that is not the truth. Yet again, I feel U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is failing to see is that it is not only a case of obtaining financial aid but it is the question of how will a person let alone a family will live from month to month while trying to obtain their degree.

The road is open wide for any race, background, or income level to obtain some manageable financial aide plan to put towards college. What is not clear is how will the rent be paid? Where will the money for food come from? Who will babysit the kids, how will the utilities be paid?

Margaret Spellings goes on with her speech about how she formed a bipartisan Commission on the Future of Higher Education and steps to address the issues of accessibility, affordability, and accountability raised by the commission and as if we could forget... No Child Left Behind...

However, children and young adults are constantly left behind and if they're not being seen it's because they're in the wake of the dirt cloud as education goes speeding ahead to "increase need-based aid." and "we must better prepare our students, starting with high standards and accountability in our public schools". Spellings completed this statement with "This will be a major topic as we work to reauthorize No Child Left Behind next year." Next year? What about last year or the last 3 years?

After reading 3/4th of the speech I just couldn't finished it... It just kept going on and on and on with restructured statements like access to aid simplify student access to aid, issues of accessibility

No where in there did I once read how we must encourage employers to allow their entry level workers access to a college schedule.

In this sense I speak from experience. I tried multiple times to go back to college while working a full time job. I was told outright that I could not work both a full time job with company XXX and be given a flexible work schedule that would allow me to go to college.

Instead I gave up work for a summer here and some Saturdays there and obtained educational training. However, when I wanted to obtain a degree and approached one employer I was told that I had to make a choice between a job with their company and going to school. The Department Manager actually said to me that they wouldn't hire me on permanently if I decided to go to college because it would interfere with their company.

The ability to afford college is no longer an issue see The Gift of Education for more information. What we need to work on is how we will live while obtaining that college education. Colleges need to come to us because we can not go to them.

I live in Los Angeles where housing and jobs are very competitive. Rent on average in an area where you only need to wear 1 bullet proof vest is $800 plus the cost of utilities. Than there is transportation Food Clothing Stress relief (Entertainment)

Even if a person shares an apartment the average rental share (and I'm only guessing) approximately $500 plus half the cost of utilities.

In my opinion

People need to know how to get to college while working a full time job. If you work in an entry level type position or at a "disposable" job (easy to quite and be hired jobs such as Fast Food / Retail / Seasonal Labor / some office) than the employers are much more concerned about their profit and what they can get for the least amount. These employees are seen as "disposable," if they leave no problem because there is anther one who wants the job.

I'm not saying all employers are like this, but a lot are. They know if you go to college you are gaining knowledge and training and becoming more valuable as a career oriented individual. The college educated is dangerous to the penny pinching businessman that takes advantage of the undereducated. As long as you are not college educated you will accept lower wages and less than desirable jobs. These are the employers who fail to see the benefits of how encouraging their employees to gain a college education will benefit them and increase their profits.

Education is an investment and we need to invest in ourselves.

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