I think I promised somewhere in this blog a year or so ago not to touch on political issues. Maybe not, I don't know but if I did, I'm breaking that promise today. Today, students, we will be talking about the HOPE scholarship and the failed promises of our fearless leaders.
Many years ago, when my children were just little, lawmakers sold the voting public on the GA Lottery. One of the ways they did that was to promise parents that their children would receive FREE tuition to GA state universities and colleges by maintaining a 3.0 GPA. They also threw in the GA Pre-K. In fact, I think my daughter was in the first or second Pre-K class funded by the GA Lottery. She has grown up believing that she would have HOPE if she maintained at least a 3.0 GPA.
Now, 15 or so years later, our fearless leaders at the state capitol are changing their tune. "Ooooh, we're spending more than the lottery is taking in!" "Oooh, 3.0? That's WAY too low! What were we thinking?" And on, and on, and on.
Students in college now (of which my daughter is one) are having the rules changed on them. Right? Wrong? I don't know, and I don't care. You don't change the rules in the middle of the game. Lawmakers are saying, "Well, we have to change the parameters now, beginning with FALL 2011 semester, or the fund will run out of money!" My question here is, "Well who the hell is managing this fund? No one saw this coming? The issue has just now come up, and the 'fix' must begin immediately?" Get rid of the people who were supposed to be watching the henhouse. They screwed up.
The lottery takes in billions of dollars. I read somewhere a day or two ago that about 37% of lottery finds are spent on college tuition. Where does the other 63% go? Exactly how many politicians have their hands in the cookie jar? Because folks, where there's money, there are politiicians. They swarm like cockroaches at night, when no one is looking. And it's really, really tough to get rid of them once they're found the food, er, money.
This state's only hope of pulling itself up off the bottom of the national barrel is by educating its citizens. Some uninformed woman wrote the other day that students see HOPE as an entitlement. You're damn right they're entitled to tuition funded by the lottery. The powers-that-be promised them that, swore it was not only possible but the right thing to do. Let's talk about getting rid of the lottery, and just watch the politicians scream. "Oh no, not the bottomless well! Not THAT!"
Students in college now, adhering to the rules that have been dangled since preschool, should continue on with those same rules. Freshmen starting Fall 2011 could start with the 90% rule, although I still think that voters should leaf back through all the promises laid at our feet when the lottery was being sold like snake oil throughout the state.
Sometimes I think our lawmakers are hell-bent on making sure voters stay stupid. How else will they get re-elected?