The real work lies ahead after high school graduation - Northfield MN: Opinion

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The real work lies ahead after high school graduation

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Sam Gett

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013 1:00 pm | Updated: 6:17 pm, Fri Jul 5, 2013.

For some kids, graduating from high school is a significant achievement. They’ve overcome learning disabilities or survived dysfunctional families with missing or abusive parents.

Some students wake up hungry and must rely on the public school system to provide their next meal. It’s naive to think those situations don’t exist in Northfield. Those graduates deserve to be lauded.

For more privileged children, like my own, the occasion of high school graduation marks a milestone worthy of noting, a transition to adulthood and responsibility. But it’s hard for me to classify it as a huge accomplishment. So I was pleased that my daughter perused a store’s grad party decorations that exclaimed “You did it!” and wondered what all the fuss was about. She acknowledged that — for her — earning a high school diploma meant she didn’t drop out or flunk out. The real work lies ahead.

Unaffected by the sequester

Two of our elected officials used the occasion of graduation to congratulate young voters (and their families) and to offer their assistance in the years ahead. Without questioning their sincerity, this seems like a pretty good campaign tactic to climb on the graduation bandwagon.

State Rep. David Bly, an educator himself, sent his acknowledgement without spending taxpayer dollars. U.S. Rep. John Kline, on the other hand, sent a letter and a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” using government funds.

“This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense,” it noted. Sending these to every family in his district must have cost thousand of dollars. Was it really necessary?

Highway robbery

Brazilians rioted in the streets recently when the government raised bus fairs by ten cents, while spending millions to prepare for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

In our country, the cost to drive on highways continues to escalate. My family is in the midst of an East Coast road trip as I write this and the road tolls are much higher than a few years ago. One toll plaza on a busy stretch of highway in Maryland siphoned $6 per vehicle. There were eight toll booths processing 8-10 cars per minute when we passed through. I’ll have to withdraw more cash from my bank account just to get home.

Sam Gett is Editor and Publisher at the Northfield News. He can be reached at 507-645-1112 or by email at

© 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • northfieldjack posted at 10:04 am on Mon, Jul 1, 2013.

    northfieldjack Posts: 53

    “This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense,” it noted. Sending these to every family in his district must have cost thousand of dollars. Was it really necessary?

    Instead of speculating, why don't you guys do your job and find out how much it cost?

  • Sparo73 posted at 10:19 am on Sat, Jun 29, 2013.

    Sparo73 Posts: 1214

    The fiscal conservative Kline has no problem spending taxpayer money in the hopes of garnering votes. He likes to send out actual certificates that mean absolutely nothing to the graduate but appears to be "so nice" coming from a Congressman. My daughter got one a few years ago that quickly found the round file where I suspect 90% of them end immediately after opening. Nearly all of these High School graduates soon learn that behind the high costs attributed to the interest rates of student school loans, you will find Rep. Kline trying to make you pay more to the Federal Government, so he can keep giving huge tax breaks to wealthy corporations. He once said last year that the Federal Government "cannot afford to continue to offer 3.4% loans on subsidized student loans." Now under his new plan he wants to offer student loans using adjustable rate financing, something similar to an ARM used to finance mortgages. If his bill ever got through the senate, it would immediatlly raise interest rates on subsidized loans to 5%, unsubsidized rates would climb significantly also. In several years you could see rates on student loans in the double digits like we saw loans for home mortgages in the late 80's or early 90's under the Reagan and Bush I years. Every student and parent of a student should be very wary of what Rep. Kline wants to do. I would suggest you send back your certificate and tell him to use this money toward student loans instead.


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