Old Town Lansing Times Staff Writer
LANSING, MI- Lansing Community College students, faculty and administrators feel left in the dark during the presidential debates with regards to education policy.
With two of three presidential debates completed, the LCC community thinks candidates should focus more on education policy.
“I would like to hear them talk about education in community colleges, and how that will help with economic recovery,” said Todd Heywood, candidate running for an LCC Board of Trustee position.
Matt Bedard, president of the LCC Republican Club said education is the bedrock of our nations future, and the current system is in need of dire reform.
“Education seems to be the one thing that everyone can agree on, at least partially,” Bedard said.
Education at LCC
Although federal changes don’t impact LCC like state changes do, Ellen Jones, director of Public Affairs at LCC, said students still need to understand each candidates’ position on education.
Jones said LCC only receives federal funding from grants they choose to pursue.
“Another concern of ours is making sure interest rates for students remain low,” Jones said.
With the lack of education policy debated in this election, political clubs at LCC have taken action to educate students about these issues.
Isaac Francisco, vice president of the LCC Student Democrats, said education is always one of the clubs’ biggest talking points.
Francisco said the LCC Student Democrats focus most of their conversation on federal grants and lower interest loans.
“A lot of current education policy might be affected this upcoming election, and it’s important for students to know about these issues,” Francisco said.
The LCC Republican Club has been working with Michigan State University and University of Detroit Mercy to spread the word on education issues.
“It has been really effective working with other universities,” Bedard said. “We have really created awareness across the state on education issues.”
Both the LCC Republican and Democratic clubs voiced concern about education issues such as interest rate on loans, financial aid, grants, economic reform and overall funding.
Hopes for the Future
Although both parties have different standpoints on education policy, both agree that there are changes current education policies that need to be made.
“I think a reform of our student loan system is essential to avoid further unnecessary inflation of college expenses, and to preserve the affordability of community colleges like LCC,” said Bedard.
And even more specifically, Heywood can see changes that need to be made in the state of Michigan regarding education funding.
“The largest budget item in the state of Michigan is the prisons,” Heywood said. “I think we need to start investing some more of this money into education. This would help prevent the need for prisons in the first place.”
All hope to hear more with regards to education during the final debate on Monday, Oct. 22.
“I think students first need to make sure they make their voice heard at the poles,”Francisco said. “The more students vote, the more politicians will pay attention to their concerns on issues such as education.”