The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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August 27, 2013

EDITORIALS: Working toward racial equality; Higher ed talks mired in politics

(Continued)

On the other hand, there remains a gulf between the races in America. And so long as problems within black neighborhoods are viewed as something separate from the nation as a whole, they will persist.

Ironically, while President Obama may be well positioned to understand the problems of race in America, he has been unable to do much about it. Obama’s status as the nation’s first black president makes it difficult for him to tackle race matters head-on.

But they need to be tackled in some fashion — and not just by a president. All Americans have a role in issues of race. That means refusing to pretend problems don’t exist or that they are someone else’s responsibility.

It also means rejecting those of various colors and political persuasions who find benefit in playing the blame game and avoiding accountability.

The next phase in achieving Martin Luther King’s dream must consist of a positive and constructive racial engagement in America. It will be achieved with honesty and humility, not finger pointing and denial.

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Politics, big gov't dominate college affordability talks

The Record-Eagle / Traverse City, Mich.

The debate (if it can be elevated to that distinction) over President Obama's proposal to tie future federal financial aid for colleges and universities to a broad new government rating system is instructive -- but not of how to make a college education more affordable or what’s best for students.

Instead, it tells us more than we want to know about the dysfunction that is the federal government, the sorry state of our oh-so-partisan politics and the higher education industry. None of it is good.

Obama's stated goal, to keep down college costs, is worthy. But the way his proposal would go about that is classic federal government: give points for not just affordability but a host of other "goals" that may reward schools for things that aren't necessarily part of the equation -- average student loan debt, graduation rates and the average earnings of graduates.

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