Weekly Roundup 11/22/2011

A Sensible Solution to Student Loan Debt
Richard Lee Colvin, Huffington Post, Nov. 12, 2011

Synopsis: To help students afford college and increase the repayment rate on college loans, the United States should follow Australia and other nations into making enrollment in income-contingent loan-repayment programs automatic, with repayment managed by the IRS. Currently, U.S. income-contingent programs are woefully undersubscribed and managed through the Department of Education.

Takeaway: “Income-contingent loans could encourage money-hungry colleges to boost tuition even further, so Congress should also provide incentives to colleges to keep costs down,” writes Colvin, executive director of the nonpartisan think tank Education Sector. “Colleges that didn't keep tuition hikes within limits could be barred from the income-contingent loan program, which could drive students away.”

For more, see Reed Karaim’s Nov. 15 CQ Global Researcher on “Expanding Higher Education” and my Oct. 21 report on “Student Debt.”

--Marcia Clemmitt, Staff Writer


Teaching Good Sex
Laurie Abraham, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Nov. 20, 2011

Synopsis: A frank human-sexuality course at a private Quaker school on Philadelphia’s affluent Main Line “may well be the only one of its kind in the United States.” Teacher Al Vernacchio regards sexuality as “a force for good – even for teenagers.”

Takeaway: While Vernacchio extols the pleasure of sex, he also notes that sometimes it’s best left off the menu. At the same time, “I don’t necessarily see the decision to become sexually active when you’re 17 as an unhealthy one,” he says. “What if our kids really believed we wanted them to have great sex?” he asked at an evening talk for parents of ninth-graders who would attend his sex-ed course. “What if they really believed that we want them to be so passionately in love with someone that they can’t keep their hands off them? What if they really believed we want them to know their own bodies?”

See “Teen Sex,” (9/16/2005), CQ Researcher.

--Thomas J. Colin, Contributing Editor


MLS Deserves to Succeed

Ian Darke, ESPN, Nov. 22, 2011

Synopsis: Playing perhaps his final game in Major League Soccer (MLS), David Beckham capped off his five-year tenure with the L.A. Galaxy with his first league championship. Seen by many as a savior for the league when he arrived stateside in 2007, Beckham is now contemplating a return to a European club, which has prompted questions over the future of soccer in America should MLS lose its biggest celebrity.

Takeaway: The introduction of the Montreal Impact next season will bring the league’s team total to 19, nearly double the 10 teams it had upon inception in 1996 and approaching the 30 or so teams playing in other sports leagues such as the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. TV ratings and attendance have continually risen over the past decade. While pundits endlessly debate soccer’s place in the American sporting landscape, the league and its fans aren’t bothered if it remains a minority sport in the country because it’s increasingly becoming a significant one.

For historical background see “Soccer in America” (April 22, 1994).

--Darrell Dela Rosa, Assistant Editor