November 7, 2017

"Watch your mouth. You're looking at one."

From "The homeless defy stereotypes in wealthy Silicon Valley" (San Francisco Chronicle):
Ellen Tara James-Penney, a 54-year-old lecturer at San Jose State University, parks her old Volvo at one of those safe haven churches, Grace Baptist Church, and eats in its dining hall. She is paid $28,000 a year to teach four English classes and is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees.

She grades papers and prepares lessons in the Volvo. At night, she leans back the driver's seat and prepares for sleep, one of two dogs, Hank, by her side. Her husband, Jim, who is too tall for the car, sleeps outside in a tent cot with their other dog, Buddy.

The Bay Area native remembers the time a class was studying John Steinbeck, when another student said that she was sick of hearing about the homeless.

"And I said, 'Watch your mouth. You're looking at one.' Then you could have heard a pin drop," she said. "It's quite easy to judge when you have a house to live in or you have meds when you're depressed and health care."

181 comments:

John Lynch said...

She isn't homeless except by choice. Which is the point of criticism of homeless people.

Laslo Spatula said...

Fire up the Volvo and get the Hell out of California.

There are more affordable places to live.

I am Laslo.

campy said...

when another student said that she was sick of hearing about the homeless.

Vote democrat and you won't hear about them ever again!

rhhardin said...

Then you could have heard a pin drop

The loudness of a clavichord has been compared to a box of pins dropping, if she needs a new cliche.

Oso Negro said...

How does a 54 year old end up with such student debt for a pair of English degrees? POOR CHOICES.

Hey Skipper said...

The Bay Area native remembers the time a class was studying John Steinbeck, when another student said that she was sick of hearing about the homeless.

Yeah. Right. Of course. No doubt. For reelz.

John Lynch said...

Being too good to teach public school doesn't give someone moral authority.

John Lynch said...

Hell, being too good to work in a restaurant doesn't give one moral authority. I've made more than that at Domino's Pizza.

Gahrie said...

I feel no sympathy. No one forced her to take those loans, or live and work in Silicon Valley. We are responsible for the choices we make.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Two able and educated middle-aged people living like transients? Yes, it is completely by choice so she can shove her virtuous indignation. There's nothing remotely Steinbeckian about these fools.

Expat(ish) said...

That's a pretty good pay rate. For teaching business classes a Master degree will generally get you $6K-$7K and a Ph.D. will get you $10K. Per class.

If she is teaching a 4:1 (four sections, one prep) or a 4:2 (four sessions, 2 prep) then she has plenty of time to get a part time job. No reason she couldn't at least double her income by working harder/longer hours.

Also, in CA, she is eligible for Section 8 housing with that income.

-XC

PS - Yeah, the $/class thing seems to be pretty constant across the place. So she could move to FL and teach at FGCU and live in Ft. Meyers. Probably they could afford a good car and an apartment on two incomes.

PPS - On second thought, we are too purple already. She should move to Colorado, they are already screwed.

holdfast said...

Most homeless have mental and/or drug issues.

She and her hubby have massive life and financial planning and management issues.

I would have loved to be a history prof. But I wanted to get married and have a family, and I couldn't make the math work for an academic career. So I did something that paid good money quickly - still challenging and satisfying, but not my first love. It's called being an adult.

rehajm said...

She isn't homeless except by choice.

Yes. She couldn't get a teaching job in Barstow? Drive a couple hours each way? Team up with six other roommates? Many of us have made seemingly crazy sacrifices to do things that lead to a better life.


Carol said...

I think we've valorized college degree-chasing a bit too much. It's a bucket list obsession, like collecting visa stamps on your passport. And the enthusiasts really are such douchebags.

rehajm said...

I suspect some of the homelessness in Silicon Valley is political performance art. I have a right to live here. I recall some of this in New Jersey before the bottom fell out in 2008.

Bay Area Guy said...

$28K per year to teach at San Jose St?

143K in debt?

Living in a Volvo?

This 54-year old woman has made ridiculous choices in her life.

tcrosse said...

That Volvo must be pretty fragrant.

Unknown said...

The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing.

FIDO said...

I hope her useless Master's and her sense of smug keeps her warm.

No Republican is forcing her to live like this, but somehow, I am sure we are somehow to blame.

Honestly, it seems a golden opportunity to me. There are SO MANY of these semi deranged TAs making chickenfeed. Enough to start some very good Conservative colleges and universities. Of course, weeding out the insane academics is an issue, as they are so common.

mockturtle said...

Most poor people in this country are products of a lifetime of poor choices. Hers are legion:
1. English major, two degrees.
2. Immense student loan.
3. Married to a deadbeat.
4. Has two dogs.
5. Lives in California.

tim in vermont said...

She isn't so much homeless as holding out. She's broke, not poor.

Come to Boston, I will introduce you to some homeless. We can buy them sandwiches together.

Gabriel said...

Expat(ish):If she is teaching a 4:1 (four sections, one prep) or a 4:2 (four sessions, 2 prep) then she has plenty of time to get a part time job.

Is this a joke?

4 sections is easily 40 hours' work a week. Especially with English, where the grading is so time-consuming.

Gabriel said...

Not saying she isn't clearly homeless by sum of life choices. That is true. I was just astounding that anyone thinks teaching four sections of English leaves "plenty of time" for ANYTHING during the academic year.

Big Mike said...

The only person I ever met that had a large outstanding student loan and a rational plan to pay it off was a young cashier I met at a big box store. I don’t recall how we got to talking about it, but she admitted to owing $80,000 for her BFA. I admitted to paying $500 for a lovely seascape, so I jokingly said that she could paint 160 paintings and retire her debt in no time. Then she said she got $1200 for the last one she sold.

tim in vermont said...

Blogger Unknown said...
The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing


How much of that loans is going to administrators required to comply with an avalanche of regulation, like Title IX?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing.

Yes, I agree that someone should be able to take out $150k in loans and then walk away. That will do wonders for the stability and affordability of college

Gabriel said...

Main thing I noticed about the article is that it posts a few anecdotes about working homeless, makes blanket statements about "who the homeless are", but offers no statistics about what percentage of homeless are working.

Typical journalism, in other words.

tim in vermont said...

There is a shelter down the street from me, I can't believe this lady's gall. I lost everything once, after a decent start, I never appropriated the mantle of undeserved poverty.

Henry said...

Oklahoma could use you back.

Ann Althouse said...

What is the husband's income?

It's very hard to understand these facts.

Is there some deep, deep, mad love for literature? Some unwillingness to do any other kind of work? Great joy in getting paid for doing something you'd do for free?

Is she teaching 4 classes a year or 4 classes a semester?

Gabriel said...

From TFA:He can barely afford the rent on his $16-an-hour salary, even with overtime,

Wait a second, I thought the unions were "fighting for $15", what they consider to be a "living wage"--and this guy is making more than that--and he is being featured in an article on "the homeless" despite not actually being homeless ("recently signed a lease for half of a $3,400 two-bedroom unit").

I'm sorry, but this article is propaganda.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"I would have loved to be a history prof."

I wanted to be a history prof too. I regretted not pursuing that course of action for a long time. But now, when I see the Stalinists on campus, I am grateful that I didn't take that route. I'd be in hot water now - for saying something like "you know, white Christians are not the only ones in the world who have committed atrocities."

And this "homeless" by choice woman is a idiot. No wonder Inga sympathizes, being an idiot herself.

tim in vermont said...

Schools should be on the hook for worthless degrees. How is her experience different than graduates of Trump University?

Henry said...

I have several friends who have worked like this for years -- stringing together adjunct teaching assignments, tutoring, editing, online teaching, and other gigs. But my friends don't do it in Silicon Valley. They do it in cities where they can afford an apartment.

MadisonMan said...

What are their plans for 5 years from now? I wonder.

Freeman Hunt said...

Leave.

You can get by on $28k much more easily elsewhere.

Gabriel said...

@Ann:It's very hard to understand these facts.

Sum of life choices, no single one of which implied "I will be living in my Volvo", yet in totality they all do, and at that point it becomes "I have no choice but to live in my Volvo".

But if you want to teach 4 sections of English a semester--and academic staff generally do-- there are much cheaper places one can go do that. However, that doesn't help with the student debt. Which was another "sum of life choices" issue.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

She is paid $28,000 a year to teach four English classes and is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees.

Just a wild guess here, but I'm betting neither of the degrees were in math.

tim in vermont said...

All of those writers went to Paris because it was dirt cheap. Not sure why she can't teach high school someplace cheap and write durung the copious vacations.

Mr Wibble said...

People asked me if I was going to go for my Ph.D after I was done with my Masters program. I replied "Hell no! I want to actually earn money and have a life!" Apparently some people can't see that far ahead.

Gabriel said...

@Ignorance is bliss:is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees.
.. I'm betting neither of the degrees were in math.


First, the graduate degrees in math rarely involve additional student debt. Second, that $143 K in debt is probably not what she paid for those degrees, unless she went to college very recently, so it is probably mostly interest or penalties on what was once a smaller number.

tim in vermont said...

Her real issue is that she isn't living the life she knows she deserves.

Plus, real homeless people are no fun to write about.

Caligula said...

There seem to be several stories here.

1. Housing prices in the S.F. Bay Area are insane, at least in part due to BANANA restrictions on building new housing. BUT if I could only find work as a security guard at $16./hour, I'd start thinking, "It can't be this bad everywhere. So, where could I move and how am I going to do this?"

2. The article doesn't say where or in what subject Ellen Tara James-Penney earned a degree, but it's hardly a secret that schools continue to turn out huge numbers of graduates with degrees in humanities and soft sciences that are useful for little other than academic employment, even though the academic employment market can't absorb more than a few of these graduates.

Neither government nor the schools seem to have any motivation to make it clear to prospective students that few of them will ever find academic employment above the poverty-level bottom rung. Perhaps some serious mandatory disclosure would help? Before taking out installments on that massive student loan debt, you'd have to sign a form saying "I acknowledge that this education is for personal enrichment only, and the credential it offers has little if any economic value"?

In the meantime, has she or her husband considered plumbing school?

Freeman Hunt said...

The starting salary for a teacher in our school district is $50k. She can come here and teach high school kids. And the cost of living is low, so that $50k will go a long way.

Rusty said...

How are her poor career choices my fault?

jaydub said...

Blogger Unknown said...
"The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing."

If it were abolished it would certainly solve her student loan debt problem since no lender would have lent her the money in the first place. However, an easier solution to the indentured servitude issue might be to just triple her teaching salary because if we're going to advocate economically illiterate solutions why not go full Bernie?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Leave.

You can get by on $28k much more easily elsewhere.


Exactly THIS! Move to another area where you can afford to live. There are jobs available in other areas. Yes. It may be scary for the Hernandez family in the article to move elsewhere but their lives will be much better.

What sort of opportunities for advancement does someone who is basically working at minimum wage in low skilled jobs have in the Bay Area? NONE. You are in essence a serf or indentured servant.

GTFO of there. Move to Texas. Jobs aplenty and the living is cheap. Hell.....even in many parts of California you can make it and have a decent life.

Move!

exiledonmainstreet said...

Freeman Hunt said...
The starting salary for a teacher in our school district is $50k. She can come here and teach high school kids. And the cost of living is low, so that $50k will go a long way."

Given her obvious lack of sense, do you really want her teaching your kids?


Ray said...

She should move someplace with an OK teaching environment, and get a job teaching English in high school in a public school. That way she can retire her loans in X years.

Silicon Valley is insane on the rents, and the pay. You have three types there. Those that inherited because their parents moved their when cheaper. Those working 3 jobs. And the tech types. My Aunt, lives in the house her parents bought in 1947, told of a friend working 3 jobs so can afford a $6-$8K monthly mortgage in a 1950's house (small) in the heart of Silicon Valley. My daughter's friends comment is they should move to Austin. I was just up in Silicon Valley over the weekend from LA, helping out my Aunt.

My daughter graduated 3 years ago from a state school with no debt, and makes a lot more than this lady, but she does not have a Masters yet, and lived in Silicon Valley. My wife and I pushed our daughter to choose a major she could get a good job with, and it work. Which is why she turned down UC Santa Barbara, because they did not have a major she was interested in that paid. Instead she got a Business Degree with a MIS emphasis.

Adjunct Teaching I view as serfdom. The problem of too much supply, and not enough demand. And yet the administrators salaries and numbers go up, while the % of tenured goes down.

Henry said...

@Freeman -- Are there any openings? In New England, the education schools graduate far more certified teachers than available positions. When a RI politician proposed raising graduation standards for URI education majors to produce fewer, better graduates, both the schools and unions threw a fit.

Curious George said...

" From "The homeless defy stereotypes in wealthy Silicon Valley" (San Francisco Chronicle):
Ellen Tara James-Penney, a 54-year-old lecturer at San Jose State University, parks her old Volvo at one of those safe haven churches, Grace Baptist Church, and eats in its dining hall. She is paid $28,000 a year to teach four English classes and is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees.

She grades papers and prepares lessons in the Volvo. At night, she leans back the driver's seat and prepares for sleep, one of two dogs, Hank, by her side. Her husband, Jim, who is too tall for the car, sleeps outside in a tent cot with their other dog, Buddy."

She should open up an English store. Her husband Jim, who apparently doesn't work, could work there.

tim in vermont said...

Actually, making the banks take on the risk of worthless degrees might produce fewer sociology majors whose main career path is on-line troll for the Clinton Foundation.

tim in vermont said...

"Vote with your feet!" Ronald Reagan

I listened to him. Those were the words that made me a Republican, after it worked out, of course.

Ray said...

Her Linkedin Profile:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellen-tara-james-penney-332a3778/

She got her degrees from San Jose State.

Her thesis:
http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/etd_theses/4279/

Her husband has a herniated disk, he used to be a trucker. He should be able to get disability.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/28/adjunct-professors-homeless-sex-work-academia-poverty

Jason said...

I’LL SHOW YOU THE “LIFE OF THE MIND!”

mockturtle said...

Given her obvious lack of sense, do you really want her teaching your kids?

Good point, exiled!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The Bay Area native remembers the time a class was studying John Steinbeck, when another student said that she was sick of hearing about the homeless.

"And I said, 'Watch your mouth. You're looking at one.'


How is Watch your mouth a reasonable response to that statement? The other student didn't say anything bad about the homeless.

Robert Cook said...

"She isn't homeless except by choice. Which is the point of criticism of homeless people."

Yes, you're right, of course! She chooses to sleep and live in her car with her husband and dogs because she abjures the bourgeois lifestyle of, like, having a home of her own. You're quite astute.

tcrosse said...

Fire up the Volvo and get the Hell out of California.

What, and leave the Good Life behind ?

Kevin said...

Re: Freeman. The last I saw, most districts still require education degrees to teach in high school or below. You can be a world class expert in your field of study but it is all for naught if you don't have an education degree that encompasses little more than Socialism For Lazy Idiots. Has that changed?

Robert Cook said...

"The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing."

Yes!

Known Unknown said...

" She can come here and teach high school kids"

Would you want her to?

Christopher said...

What is the husband's income?

It's very hard to understand these facts.

Is there some deep, deep, mad love for literature? Some unwillingness to do any other kind of work? Great joy in getting paid for doing something you'd do for free?

Is she teaching 4 classes a year or 4 classes a semester?


Forget it, Althouse, it's journalism.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Yes, you're right, of course! She chooses to sleep and live in her car with her husband and dogs because she abjures the bourgeois lifestyle of, like, having a home of her own. You're quite astute.

Very funny.

She IS homeless by choice because she:

1.Chooses to live in an area where her potential income is not enough.
2.Chooses to work in a job/field where her income is restricted
3.Chooses to work in a location where her income is less than it could be in another location
4.Chooses to not share a home/apartment with other roommates who are also in reduced circumstances
5.Chooses to not move. Not better her job situation.
6.Chooses to live with a deadbeat husband and a pack of dogs that cost a lot to feed and which also prevent her from being able to live in a roommate situation.
7.Chose to get into huge debt for a couple of degrees that are not worth the ROI

8. Chooses to stay in her current crappy situation instead of moving to an area where she could actually survive.

Poor choices. ALL self inflicted.

Clyde said...

..."California is the Garden of Eden,
"A paradise to live in or to see.
"But believe it or not,
"You won't find this place so hot,
"If you ain't got the Do-Re-Mi..."

--Woody Guthrie

Freeman Hunt said...

"Given her obvious lack of sense, do you really want her teaching your kids?"

I homeschool and use private school. Infer from that what you will.

Freeman Hunt said...

She seems dedicated to the job of teaching, so there's that.

Gabriel said...

@Kevin:. The last I saw, most districts still require education degrees to teach in high school or below

This is not true. You need to have a bachelor's degree of some kind, generally, but there are many ways to get certification.

Gahrie said...

"The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing."

Do you really want to give people the ability to borrow money to stay in school for decades and then walk away from their debt whenever they please?

Colleges would be even more fucked up then they are now.

Gahrie said...

The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing.

No one is forced to take out student loans.

Gordon said...

I have a friend with a Sociology PhD from a state school. She might be making $28K as an adjunct. I like her. She's a good person. But I do question her smarts. How the hell did she decide that taking on $100,000 of debt for a degree from a 4th tier school was a good idea?

It's no wonder these folks glom onto the socialist bandwagon. Free college for all! Note carefully that they aren't promising to wipe out existing debt. That's a huge number and it's growing fast. Of course, considering Bernie's wife drove the college she led into bankruptcy, perhaps Sandersian concepts of finance aren't really sound. Bernie never had a successful job until he got elected mayor of Burlington.

Robert Cook said...

"Exactly THIS! Move to another area where you can afford to live. There are jobs available in other areas."

Boyhowdy! The country is bursting with well-paying jobs, if only the stupid and lazy knew how to find them!

Gahrie said...

I'm sorry, but this article is propaganda.

There's a Republican president, so the media has discovered poverty and homelessness again.

Robert Cook said...

"No one is forced to take out student loans."

These days, if you want to go to college, you pretty much have to take out student loans. No one is forced to go to college, of course, but then...how many jobs dishwashing and bartending jobs can even America sustain?

Gabriel said...

@Robert Cook:No one is forced to go to college, of course, but then...how many jobs dishwashing and bartending jobs can even America sustain?

I have a Ph. D. Plumbers make more than I do, if they're good and been in the business awhile. So do electricians.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

These days, if you want to go to college, you pretty much have to take out student loans.

Just 'going' to college is not a goal in and of itself. What is the end game of going to college? A degree? In what? Is there an actual job available once you have the degree? How many other people are getting the same degree and flooding the job market? Where IS the job market for your chosen degree?

Going to school can be fun. Studying cool things can be interesting and fun. But...to what end? Why should the tax payers or lenders fund your fun with no guarantee of return on the money lent? Why are the taxpayers or lenders expected to subsidize people's poor choices.

As I recall, this concept was the beginning of the Tea Party...Rick Santelli

No one is forced to go to college, of course, but then...how many jobs dish washing and bartending jobs can even America sustain?

Now THIS is a very good question. Why are we allowing millions of illegal aliens who are unskilled and who generally don't speak the language of this country to flood the job markets? Most of those illegals end up the dish washing etc fields....or work illegally, under the table and depress the wages making it very difficult for legal citizens to compete.

How many Mexican, or foreign dishwashers, DO we need?

tim in vermont said...

how many jobs dishwashing and bartending jobs can even America sustain?

More than MFAs in English, I guarantee you. And it's pretty funny that you would think that these are the only jobs open to the non college educated. There are lots of them, the ones that. pay better require a little schooling of course, electricians, plumbers, crane operators, but they don't required massive debt, and they probably aren't subject to bloated administration costs due to having to hire people each time a new regulation comes down the pike, to ensure compliance.

tim in vermont said...

How many Mexican, or foreign dishwashers, DO we need?

Don't you know that the law of supply and demand is a lie! The "invisible hand" indeed! Next you will be telling me that live evolved from soup according to some kind of "invisible hand" of natural selection, and not through intelligent design, which is the obvious answer!

tcrosse said...

@Robert Cook:No one is forced to go to college, of course, but then...how many jobs dishwashing and bartending jobs can even America sustain?

Looking down one's nose at those without college degrees has not been politically successful lately. Way to show Solidarity with the Workers.

tim in vermont said...

At least lefty creationists are consistent. Like the people who believe there are no races and that polar bears and brown bears are the same animal. Consistent.

tim in vermont said...

Looking down one's nose at those without college degrees has not been politically successful lately. Way to show Solidarity with the Workers.

Time and again rich liberals show how out of touch they are with the cab drivers who read the New York Post. They are used to their underclass servants wearing uniforms and keeping their opinions to themselves.

rehajm said...

There's a Republican president, so the media has discovered poverty and homelessness again.

Also deficits. Another win for Trump.

Seeing Red said...

No one is forced to take out student loans, Cookie.

No one is forced to complete school in 4 years.

Jr college is cheap. Go to Jr college then go for your degree.

Our Jr college has a 3+1 degree and you pay Jr college rates to finish at a local 4 year college.


Where there is a will, there is a way.

She wants what she wants and wants the rest of the country to subsidize her.

There are good paying jobs out there in other parts of the country where the cost of living is cheaper.


And grading papers is becoming easier. There are software programs to grade simple essays. They'll get better and more sophisticated and grading will take less time.


Multi choice tests aren't really graded by hand anymore.


IF she wanted to pick up extra cash, she could grade the essay portion of the ACT. They need people.

James K said...

These days, if you want to go to college, you pretty much have to take out student loans.

State school tuition is still pretty cheap. And going to college is a bargain if you choose to obtain marketable skills. Getting a degree in "Gender Studies" maybe not so much.

rehajm said...

...if only the stupid and lazy knew how to find them

The median home price in Mountain View, CA is over $1.6 million dollars and she earns $28,000. The economic realities of the situation this college educated woman has created for herself are lost on her. She can offer only a leftie recital of political talking points. Stupid and lazy do come to mind.

Big Mike said...

Cookie needs to watch “This Old House.” The building trades are so desperate for qualified carpenters, plumbers, HVAC workers, electricians, etc., that this season the show has teamed with Mike Rowe (of “Dirty Jobs” fame) to highlight apprenticeship programs and to show Tommy and Rich working with teams of apprentices, teaching them the ins and outs of making a well-built house.

There are lots of good-paying jobs out there. LinkedIn says there are thousands of IT openings in the DC metro area. A bulldozer operator who knows what he or she is about will not starve. But these are jobs where you do something, and you have to do it right.

Jersey Fled said...

As I was reading this, the 30ish black woman who reads our gas meter came to our door.

I'm betting that she makes more than $28,000 a year and doesn't have $143,000 in student loan debt.

But then again, she chose to work a hard, low esteem job to support herself and her family.

Seeing Red said...

My JC charges the same rate whether your butt is in their seat or your home seat.

There was a reason TX started experimenting with a $10k degree.

hawkeyedjb said...

"The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing."

I agree. If these were "normal" loans, they would require of the borrower some indication that they would be repaid (or they would need to be collateralized). Such loans would not be so easy to obtain, which would have the salutary side-effect of forcing universities to live on reduced revenue. The great blob of non-academic waste that has grown in schools over the last few decades is possible because of the ubiquity of easy loans. All that extra revenue certainly hasn't gone into faculty compensation.

Additionally, the schools themselves should be on the hook for some portion of unpaid student loans. They might be a little more selective about how much they encourage their students to take out big loans.

Seeing Red said...

And as someone who is close to her age, what I want to know is what about her parents? Are they alive? Did she get an inheritance? Will she get an inheritance?

And if I was her mother and raised that idiot, you can guarantee my will would be very specific in the bequest.

Jay Elink said...

Freeman Hunt said...
The starting salary for a teacher in our school district is $50k. She can come here and teach high school kids. And the cost of living is low, so that $50k will go a long way.
******************************

You might reconsider your offer.

With the poor judgment this person has shown, as well as her snotty virtue signalling, she would probably infect the kids in your district with all sorts of Prog nonsense.

Big Mike said...

I was talking to the wife. She told me that the guy who scrapes the sludge from the bottom of the settling tanks at the District of Columbia’s Blue Plains sewage treatment plant makes more than the average Ph. D. scientist working for the government. Now there’s a good job for someone with anosmia!

FullMoon said...

This woman can earn more doing a different job, her choices are bad, etc.All true.

The point is, all the homeless are not crazy drug addicts and losers. This story is about SF bay area. Housing prices are ridiculous. Original 1940's 1100 square feet in Sunset District gonna run a million dollars or so. Original 1950's 1300 square feet in cheapest Santa Clara County area gonna be 700,ooo or more. Same house in best areas 1.5-2 million.

Many average people one or two paychecks away from homelessness. Kids coming up living with parents because they cannot afford rent elsewhere. Possible to rent in dangerous neighborhood for $1000.00. Possible to rent in better neighborhood for $2000.00 These are not the norm.

Anecdote to balance the Volvo lady: Non union kindergarten teacher is making around $50,000 , with benefits in a private school. Loans are paid. She needs another degree to work union public school.

Also
"The median annual Teacher High School salary in San Francisco, CA is $72,778, as of October 30, 2017, with a range usually between $57,665-$85,486 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay."


brylun said...

The inability to declare bankruptcy because of student loans is indentured servitude. It is a horrible situation and needs abolishing.

The more I think about Unknown/Inga's comment, the more I like it. It should not apply retroactively, but only prospectively. If a college or university wanted to guarantee the loan, that would be ok. Lenders would consider available collateral and the likelihood of repayment and would lend accordingly.

This scheme would probably have a very positive effect on the types of majors selected and relate much more realistically to the employment market.

Big Mike said...

The reason why student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy is that historically people would take out ridiculous levels of debt for degrees like MD or JD, then working briefly in a low paying job, file bankruptcy, and then take on a highly remunerative job as a doctor or lawyer with no debt.

Cookie may be up for people scamming the US treasury, but real people don’t care to subsidize folks like that.

brylun said...

Big Mike, with the ability to file bankruptcy, lenders would look to collateral, guarantors, and other forms of security so that when bankruptcy is filed, there would be other recourse. I think this would be a good thing, with the clear effect of less money going to universities especially for bogus majors.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It is telling that Cook thinks that the only jobs that a person with no college degree can obtain is something like dishwashing or being a bartender. BTW: a good bartender will make way more than 28K a year with tips on top of wages, as will a good waitress.

There are plenty of blue collar jobs that make very good incomes and may only require some on the job training. If you are in construction, you can move to Texas or Louisiana and name your price right now with all the hurricane damage that needs to be repaired.

Any of these will bring big $$$. Heavy equipment operator. Diesel mechanic. Auto mechanic. Plumbing. Carpentry. Electrician. Tile laying. Painting. Landscaping. AND....it isn't just men who can do some of these jobs. One of my friends a few years ago was a logging skidder and shearer operator. SHE ran the equipment for her family operation and contracted out to other companies.

Even a garbage truck driver will make more than $28K a year and doesn't have hundreds of thousands of dollars in college loans for a useless degree.

Those jobs are probably too icky for someone as rarefied as Cook. But they are plenty good enough to have a nice middle class life....somewhere outside of the overpriced snotty Bay Area.

Anonymous said...

The "we're homeless because the vacancy rate is zero" that Caligula referred to is a real, and fundamentally different problem, than being priced out of the market. This article didn't tease these issues out well at all, and yes, they all contribute to "homelessness", but the structural solution to the vacancy rate of zero is to change the rent control laws. SF Bay Area has gone through lots of recent booms where the vacancy rate locally becomes zero. I was there in the go-go-late 90s, and went through a nearly 6 month period of going from rental showing to rental showing with the same 50 people, one showing every 4-5 days, and simply not enough rental housing stock to meet the job creation demands of the area, even for people making 6 figures.

e.g. SF and Berkeley rent control laws allowed rent increases only when new tenants arrived. This prevented any new rentals from coming on the market through churn, and prevented anyone from building new rental stock or converting their property into a rental. Worse, the only way to remove a property of 4 or less apartments from rent control (in order to sell them) was to evict the tenants, and then leave it off the market for some extended period, like 2 years. So the available rental market was shrinking as people tried to sell their buildings at the peak, but had to wait, so the places were unoccupied. Result: the obvious: the professional lady with a multi-6 figure salary who'd lived in her 1 bedroom pac heights apartments for 20 years was paying $275 a month, while I was paying $950 for a studio in a building that would immediately re-rent for $1750 if I moved out.

I knew grad students and professionals in the tech industry who simply couldn't find housing during this period, because getting a property required working FT during the day at landing a place by being the first to get your rental app in (and slip money under the table to someone.) They were sleeping on floors and living out of cars or cheap motels. They had the money and the credit check, but the waiting time was still months.

This is different than homeless who can't afford the rent, or those who have mental illnesss, drug addiction, convictions, or insanely bad credit that makes them a bad risk for an apartment. How many are being pushed out because their maximum earning power means they cannot afford the rent of any place within 90 minutes of their work is an important question, but the article makes sure to hide that.

Of course, the answer to both is the same: remove rent control, increase the rental stock, and some of these problems would be alleviated.

And while I do say "MOVE" to these people, we should be honest. We've made it almost impossible to do so. I moved states, and the upfront bill I had to pay just to register my car was over $1k per--$2280 for both my husband's and mine. Working poor can't blithely take that on. Nor can they work up enough savings to make first months' rent plus security deposit. Without significant family social net resources, they have nowhere to go while they line up a job with enough savings for then to move their family. If you've dug yourself deeper in debt while trying to stay in CA, or your car got towed because you didn't register it, you're screwed.

Joshua Barker said...

One problem is that we should be able to declare bankruptcy on our student loans just like any other debt.

I'll be the first person to say that a person should take care of their responsibilities, but why are student loans the one thing we can't forgive?

When I was young and stupid, I didn't know anything about how to manage my finances, and I racked up a bunch of credit-card debt that took me years to fix. Luckily I didn't have to declare bankruptcy, as I was able to pay down some things, or negotiate a settlement on others, but here I am still paying on my student loans (20 years later) and not making very much progress. At the current rate I will probably be paying them off until I retire...

People are responsible for their own bad choices... but schools and lenders can also be predatory lenders, knowing that there's no way out for a young stupid college kid who's about to sign his life away on a 4-year liberal arts degree. They need to have some skin in the game too.

In other words (TLDR;)... If I can declare bankruptcy on my house, car and credit cards... I should be able to declare bankruptcy on my student loans...

JAORE said...

Damn that Trump. There were very few working homeless during the Obama years. I know this because I didn't see nearly as many articles like this.

And:
"Yes, I agree that someone should be able to take out $150k in loans and then walk away. That will do wonders for the stability and affordability of college."

Absolutely. Those clamoring for this, or "loan forgiveness" had better be in their last year of school. Who the heck will make loans to the next generation of the educated elites?

Birches said...

Both my sister and brother in law make more than the rest of us credentialed. A manager for a retail store and an electrician.

Martin said...

Someone who took on $143K in student loan debt to get a degree that qualifies her to be an adjunct teaching English and making $28K (likely with no benefits) at 58 years of age, and still lives in a high-cost area like San Jose, is NOT someone whose opinion I would value in most things.

Birches said...

Allison, your information is helpful, but where are you moving with such high car registration? Or did you have new cars? Our car registration was considerably less. Less than 300.

Jupiter said...

hawkeyedjb said...

"Additionally, the schools themselves should be on the hook for some portion of unpaid student loans. They might be a little more selective about how much they encourage their students to take out big loans."

If the government did not back these loans, and protect them from bankruptcy, they would not be made. Which means that the universities would have to find something more economically attractive than XXX Studies to offer classes in.

Caligula said...

"The starting salary for a teacher in our school district is $50k. She can come here and teach high school kid.

" She should move someplace with an OK teaching environment, and get a job teaching English in high school in a public school. "


Of course, states generally require a license to teach in a public school. And to a lesser or greater extent (depending on the state) the licensure is heavily biased toward requiring a degree in education, which she probably doesn't have.

Of course, many states do offer various "alternate certification" paths to a license. Nonetheless, she's not going to get a license to teach in public school merely because she has teaching experience.

Although it always seemed bizarre that in many states public school teachers receive automatic tenure after a probationary period, as do some community colleges with union faculty. Whereas a tenure-track position is probably forever out of reach to anyone who has ever worked as an adjunct.

Jeff said...

Yes, I agree that someone should be able to take out $150k in loans and then walk away. That will do wonders for the stability and affordability of college

Actually, it probably would. Anyone foolish enough to make those loans would quickly go broke, and we'd end up with no student loans. Then colleges would have to cut tuition and other costs sharply or lose most of their students. All those administrators would get laid off, and the job of faculty members would once again be teaching, not publishing.

Not a bad reform proposal at all.

Earnest Prole said...

You're all falling for the oldest journalistic trick in the book. For more than thirty years activists have wanted to use homelessness as a critique of housing policy rather than of how we treat mental illness, drug abuse, and alcoholism. To make that argument, activists have looked for homeless married professional couples holding down real jobs (which are only slightly more common than unicorns). You've just been presented with a story featuring a couple of unicorns.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

We've made it almost impossible to do so. I moved states, and the upfront bill I had to pay just to register my car was over $1k per--$2280 for both my husband's and mine. Working poor can't blithely take that on. Nor can they work up enough savings to make first months' rent plus security deposit. Without significant family social net resources, they have nowhere to go while they line up a job with enough savings for then to move their family.

This is an important point. Moving is super expensive if you do not have an employer picking up the freight (literally). We were considering moving from Texas to Westchester County, NY last year and planned to rent a house for a year to get to know the area before we bought. Key money for a rental was first, last, deposit, AND a nonrefundable "broker's fee" (that was a new one to me) equal to a month's rent. So for a $4k/mo rental, we were looking at $16k just to move in. Plus registering cars. Plus movers on each end. Plus nights in hotels plus takeout meals plus all the stuff you realize you need when you move into a new place like brooms and duct tape and shower curtains and all that crap.

Granted, no one is advising people like the dingdong woman in the article to move to Westchester, and she was an idiot to take on that debt when she had to have known she would never be able to repay it, but your point about relocation not being that easy is still valid.

Gabriel said...

@Birches:Allison, your information is helpful, but where are you moving with such high car registration?

Could be Washington. The RTA tax is calculated from the value of your car. There are so many fees attached to car registration.

Washington is probably not the only state to do this. Then again, no state income tax.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

we'd end up with no student loans

Negatory, because the same bleeding heart bullshit that would enable people to talk away from their loans would never remove that supposed ladder to mobility for the underprivileged that student loans supposedly are.

Gabriel said...

@Caligula:And to a lesser or greater extent (depending on the state) the licensure is heavily biased toward requiring a degree in education, which she probably doesn't have.

It's far more likely that few people without education degrees have any desire to be teachers. But I've personally known many people with math or science degrees who became teachers. The alternative certification paths are not used as much, that's all.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

house, car and credit cards

House and car are tangible assets which can be repossessed and liquidated. Credit cards have high enough interest rates that offering them is still profitable even with defaults. Lenders would swiftly stop offering student loans if they became dischargeable as they would become profitless overnight. Now as has been mentioned elsewhere, this would perhaps be a blessing in disguise, but if your loans were a benefit to you and you'd like them to be available to others, you probably should not advocate for their dischargeability.

Yancey Ward said...

Right here is this idiot's problem:

a 54-year-old lecturer at San Jose State University........is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees.

Professional lady said...

I have a relative who is finishing up a pretty prestigious fellowship in Northern California. Yet, he and his wife (who is also in the same field) do not plan on settling in California. Too expensive to live there and not a great place to raise kids. They don't want to pay $1M plus for a house that would go for $30K in the Midwest.

Yancey Ward said...

And does a single sentient being reading that article really believe a student spoke up during a discussion of Steinbeck and said they were tired of hearing about the homeless?

tcrosse said...

Washington is probably not the only state to do this. Then again, no state income tax.

Likewise Nevada.

John said...

I have not a drop of sympathy for folks like this who refuse to get a real job.

Adjuncts are supposed to be knowledgeable people who teach part time to share their knowledge.

It is not supposed to be a career.

She should get a job and stop moaning.

I spent 30 years teaching as an adjunct in a leading biz school, mainly. Also taught some classes in an engineering school and a school of education.

I woul never think of trying to make a living at it.

I would also say that $28m/yr or $7000 per course is pretty good. The most I ever got was about $2000 per course, mostly closer to 12-1500


If she got a part time job in addition to teaching 4,count em 4,courses per year she might have enough to live on

John Henry

John said...

Kevin,

Not just k-12

I was rated to teach pretty much anything in the grad business school but on the occasion I would teach an undergrad course I had to jump through a lot of hoops. Same university.

Ditto the engineering school. No problem to teach in the grad program with no engineering degree.

Couldn't teach undergrad

John Henry

tim in vermont said...

moved states, and the upfront bill I had to pay just to register my car was over $1k per--$2280 for both my husband's and mine.

Where did you move to??? That's kind of pricey.

Rabel said...

Ellen’s current success, however, did not come easily.

"Thirty-nine and almost homeless, Ellen felt defeated, but a good friend encouraged her to pursue her dreams of higher education."

Ellen is livin' the dream.

Jupiter said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
"Now as has been mentioned elsewhere, this would perhaps be a blessing in disguise, but if your loans were a benefit to you and you'd like them to be available to others, you probably should not advocate for their dischargeability."

The nondichargeability of student loans is a benefit to the University Racket, not to the student. Making it easier to finance a purchase drives up the price. The Universities trick gullible young people into taking out immense loans for a handful of magic beans. They are con artists, pure and simple.

stlcdr said...

There’s no solution for this particular woman; but as noted, it was a sequence of bad choices. To have nothing at 58 is simply mind boggling, but I suspect there’s a lot of people in this position.

How did she get there? What has she been doing for 30 years? This didn’t just ‘happen’.

This is a good example of why families are important; they are designed so that you have a safety net when you leave home. You make mistakes, your parents help out, and eventually, you learn all the right things about taking care of yourself, and are not reliant on others. They help you out with that first months rent, a few pots and pans, help out when your car breaks for the first time (and maybe the second).

You learn that shit happens - to everyone, not just ‘poor’ people. Make sure you have a plan for when it happens.

Fernananindiananaide said...

I don't see why people major in English cuz everbody talks pretty good without any extry learnin.

Rabel said...
"a good friend encouraged her to pursue her dreams of higher education."


There was a guy on, IIRC, Suze Orman's finance program who couldn't find a decent job "so I got a master's degree", and she said "Yes, of course you did" like it was just another stupid thing he'd done.

Gabriel said...

@John Henry:4 courses per year

TFA doesn't say "4 per year". It says 4 courses, and she makes $28 in a year. When I had 4 courses, I had 4 every semester, 300-ish total students. I did get more than $28K though.

Gabriel said...

@tim in vermont:Where did you move to??? That's kind of pricey.

See my link above, could have been Washington. No state income tax and car tabs historically have always been one of the ways the state government raises money.

Gabriel said...

Rabel (from the link):Ellen took the advice and enrolled at SJSU in 2006 to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in English. By the spring of 2013, she had completed both her B.A. and her M.F.A. in English

There's her problem. She borrowed that money at today's incredibly high tuition, 7 years in college. She changed careers, but to a career that cost her more than she could ever make at it.

And now she's trapped, by the choices she made just a few years ago.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

This woman is allegedly homeless. All of her possessions are in her vehicle so she does not need to rent a truck to move. Her cost to move to another state is just gas and tolls. She does not need to transfer her vehicle registration the day she arrives, most states allow a few weeks. Normally one does not go from homeless to apartment rental. People rent rooms as they move their way up from the very bottom. Even in NYC you can find room rentals for $500 a month in the outer boroughs. These people are homeless by choice.

I find it depressing that a woman so lacking in common sense is educating the next generation.

Fabi said...

There is zero chance that this deadbeat has ever voted for a Republican in her entire life. Don't get used to that luxurious life inside your Volvo, sweetie -- it's all downhill from here! Hope you suffer.

mockturtle said...

Jupiter asserts: The nondichargeability of student loans is a benefit to the University Racket, not to the student. Making it easier to finance a purchase drives up the price. The Universities trick gullible young people into taking out immense loans for a handful of magic beans. They are con artists, pure and simple.

BINGO!

Jupiter said...

"There was a guy on, IIRC, Suze Orman's finance program who couldn't find a decent job "so I got a master's degree", and she said "Yes, of course you did" like it was just another stupid thing he'd done."

If you are a public school teacher here in Eugene, and you go over to the University of Oregon, and enroll in a Master's program in, say, Fuck-All Studies, the school district will cover most of your tuition. And when you get your degree, they will automatically bump your pay, because now you have a Master's. So, I guess it might be a good call for some people.

FleetUSA said...

Would the woman realize how she could have avoided her current predicament if she had followed much of the advice in these comments on the Professor's blog or is she too obstinate to care.

High school seniors and college freshmen need to read this too.

Freeman Hunt said...

People from Mexico and farther south who cannot speak English, have almost nothing--certainly no cars, and have to evade immigration laws manage to move to my town, survive, and, often, thrive. Pretty sure an educated American should be able to pull it off. This woman already lives in her car. She can start by living in her car somewhere where she might get ahead.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"She is paid $28,000 a year to teach four English classes and is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees."

Should a middle-class white person feel responsible for the poor life choices of other middle-class white people?

Freeman Hunt said...

Drive somewhere that has cheap buses, get a job reachable by bus or foot, sell the car, and use the money to move into a tiny place. Then life is stable, you have somewhere to hang your hat, and up you are headed out of poverty.

Freeman Hunt said...

When my husband has to be in New York, he spends a good deal of time trying to convince immigrants he meets who arrived in New York and stayed to move to fly over country. "You won't have to work this hard. You can live near your business." One man from Burkina Faso told him that he was sad because people in his hometown were friendly and welcomed small talk with strangers, but it did not seem that way in America. "You need to live in the South!"

BJM said...

@Birches, Yep, a friend makes a very good living as a window and floor covering consultant and her husband does even better in the commercial fire suppression industry.

Healthcare is another field that offers well paid tech and support jobs without going into massive student debt. Veterinary medicine also needs techs with expertise that can be acquired at a two year community college. Our vet has a intern who is training on diagnostic equipment and another who is training in large animal services, we're in horse country and a blacksmith is worth their weight in gold (ours makes highly sought after custom kitchen knives as a side business).

Journeymen carpenters in our area of California ask $50+ per hour, and an experienced finish carpenter (the person who performs the finishing touches and tweaking jobs for the general contractor rending the property turn-key), asks $75 per hour if you can find one that isn't booked several years out.

The service sector also has unlimited and interesting opportunities. A friend's granddaughter, much to her professional parents dismay, eschewed attending college and entered CCSF's culinary school specializing in the hospitality field and at 28 can chose from an array of well paid hotel positions. She's debt free and her parents have more retirement funds. She's currently in Europe working as a concierge while preparing to qualify as a Sommelier.

BTW- How is it that two adult, middle aged people can't figure out that they are a 45 minute drive from SJ to affordable housing? I have to call bullshit on this story.

James-Penney chose poorly, and appears to continue to do so, why should taxpayers bail her out? She reminds me of the home buyers who took out low qualify/no-down home loans for houses they couldn't possibly pay for, signing loan papers they couldn't understand, then squatting until they were evicted, never paying a dime, and whining because their "credit" was ruined.

The student loan bubble is being fueled by the same debtor ignorance, lender greed and institutional double-dealing that caused the housing bubble, and burst it will.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Freeman Hunt, my own grandparents came from Prague, emigrated to New York, and headed for the Midwest as soon as they could. They wanted land.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Yancey Ward said...
And does a single sentient being reading that article really believe a student spoke up during a discussion of Steinbeck and said they were tired of hearing about the homeless?

11/7/17, 11:44 AM

Especially a student in the Bay Area.

LYNNDH said...

Having been unemployed several times, I know just how easy it can be to be homeless. We were so very lucky that my wife had a steady job (teacher) but if she had not been steadily employed we would have been out on the street. Those casting stones need to be very careful.

exiledonmainstreet said...

DBQ: one of my favorite people on TV, Mike Rowe, talks about that all the time. He says that he knows of young guys in their 20's who are making very good incomes as welders in North Dakota, which is booming, desperately needs skilled tradespeople, and is willing to pay top dollar for them. Yeah, ND is cold and does not have the cultural delights of San Francisco(however, if you're living in your damned car, how much money do you have to spare for the theater or the trendy restaurants?/ However, Rowe points out that after a 3 or 4 year stint there, those 20 something welders can afford to buy their own homes.

As opposed to this doofus, who can't even afford to rent a place due to her dumb choices.

FullMoon said...

LYNNDH said...

Having been unemployed several times, I know just how easy it can be to be homeless. We were so very lucky that my wife had a steady job (teacher) but if she had not been steadily employed we would have been out on the street. Those casting stones need to be very careful.

11/7/17, 1:38 PM


Yep. Those who say "Why don't they just......" may have never have had the good fortune to be broke, cold and hungry.

exiledonmainstreet said...

LYNNDH said...
Having been unemployed several times, I know just how easy it can be to be homeless. We were so very lucky that my wife had a steady job (teacher) but if she had not been steadily employed we would have been out on the street."

I struggled in my 20's myself and had a "pay rent - eat ramen noodles and potatoes for weeks" period. The thing about this woman is not that unforeseen circumstances are keeping her homeless, it's that her own poor choices are.

mockturtle said...

Gabriel said: I have a Ph. D. Plumbers make more than I do, if they're good and been in the business awhile. So do electricians.

I advised my grandsons to go into diesel mechanics or hazardous waste management if they want to make money.

mockturtle said...

LYNDD and Full Moon: Surely you can both appreciate the idiocy of living in California. And they don't have to live in an old Volvo. They could get a used RV. They'd at least have their own toilet and cooking facilities. What do they do, eat all their meals out? No wonder they're broke.

John said...

I think I have read all of Steinbeck's books over the years. I have been trying to think of any that were about homeless people and coming up blank.

Perhaps they are thinking of Grapes of Wrath? The Joads were sort of homeless if you stretch the definition. They really seem less like homeless and more like transients moving to a new home to me.

Mack and the boy in Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday were bums but not really homeless since they had the Palace Flophouse to live in. Steinbeck seemed to view them as pretty self-sufficient.

So which books by Steinbeck were about homeless people?

For an English teacher she sounds like she not only spent a lot of money on credentials but learned very little.

John Henry

Fabi said...

I do not, and will not, ever feel compassion for someone who voluntarily goes into that kind of debt for college. Why should I?

Paul Snively said...

"She is paid $28,000 a year to teach four English classes and is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees."

But don't you dare blame her for her transparently obviously batshit insane choices!

John said...

Jupiter,

If the education master's degree taught fuck all it would be an improvement because it would at least teach something. It is a worthless degree in which no learning, other than perhaps how the system gets scammed, takes place.

Universities love it because it brings in lots of revenue at full retail price. And because it is relatively lo cost requiring no labs or the like.

Teachers love it because they get a fancy credential for free (other than their time) AND they get a pay raise for having a master's degree.

School districts love it because they can crow about how well qualified their teachers are.

Parents like it because they they believe the district's crowing.

In reality it leads to no, zero, zip, nada, improvement in the teacher's subject knowledge or ability to impart it.

Students get absolutely no benefit out of it. But who gives 2 shits about them? They are just the "chow" (see Tom Wolfe) on which the system feeds. The more ignorant they are on leaving school, the better for the system.

NB: I have an MSBE from the Ed School of a pretty good university. I also have an MBA and other degrees from another university and 30 years teaching at the same university's Biz school. The MSBE program was completely education free by design. While going through the program, I had the chance to look at education education in depth around the US.

When I think about how bad education is in the US I am always amazed. Given the way we train and select teachers, I would expect it to be much worse.

John Henry

John Henry

John said...

Blogger mockturtle said...

Gabriel said: I have a Ph. D. Plumbers make more than I do, if they're good and been in the business awhile. So do electricians.

I advised my grandsons to go into diesel mechanics or hazardous waste management if they want to make money.


Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in New Richmond. 2 year program in automated packaging machine technician. 3 years ago graduates, with no experience whatever other than summer and part-time internships, were starting at $100,000 if they were will to be outside service techs.

If they wanted to work in a fixed location, "only" about $50,000 to start.

Tuition is in the $10-15,000/yr range with work opportunities to help pay for it.

www.witc.edu

John Henry

Anonymous said...

Birches,

North Carolina. The cars are both relatively new, but having over 50k plus miles didn't save me any money. The yearly teg is a few hundred, but that initial tax was a doozy.


FullMoon said...

mockturtle said...

LYNDD and Full Moon: Surely you can both appreciate the idiocy of living in California. And they don't have to live in an old Volvo. They could get a used RV. They'd at least have their own toilet and cooking facilities. What do they do, eat all their meals out? No wonder they're broke.


Perfect. Why don't they just get a used RV?. How a broke ass pair of losers with two dogs gonna buy a rv? How they gonna know it's a good one? How much is registration and insurance and gas for a RV?. Where they gonna park it? See, this is just what I am talking about. Why don't they just move out of the bay area and set up a tent and live off the land?

I am not making excuses for this particular woman. I am more interested in homeless that have been laid off and have no skill other than the job they had for the last ten or fifteen years. I am saying it is not a simple "just do this or that" and things will improve.

You are right that cheaper to live elsewhere. Cost money to get "elsewhere" and you need to find a job when you get there.

Seeing Red said...

Having been unemployed several times, I know just how easy it can be to be homeless. We were so very lucky that my wife had a steady job (teacher) but if she had not been steadily employed we would have been out on the street. Those casting stones need to be very careful.



We've lived with that specter hanging over our heads my entire marriage. My husband owns his own business. We just have more to sell now.


Steady job, good benefits a ton of holidays and Summer's off if she chose and retirement partially paid by the taxpayer. I have 2 teachers in my family.


Do you want to write our insurance check? My husband still doesn't take more than 3 weeks off in a year and not in a row after 30 years. And he goes in on weekends, not every weekend, but he does. How much money do we have to save to fund our own retirement at if we're lucky, 3% a year return?

I grew up like that too. If my mom didn't have a steady job, we would have been screwed. My dad owned his own business and it didn't make anything.

Do you want to pay both sides of FICA? sUTA FUTA and the rest?

Bad things happen to good people. There are always extenuating circumstances but in this case she chose poorly. There's a difference.

rehajm said...

Rabel said...
Ellen’s current success, however, did not come easily.

Ellen’s current focus is to prepare students to write properly in a professional environment. “We need to teach students to think outside the box,” she says.


First rule of professional writing is Clich├ęs Do Not Belong In Professional Writing

mockturtle said...

I don't think any of us were implying that there are no legitimately homeless people. Of course there are, and many are working. We were just pointing out that this woman is lying in the bed she chose to make. I don't feel any more sympathy for her than for the people who secured no-down-payment home mortgages with much higher payments than they could afford and were shortly under water when the market tanked. No one twisted their arms.

mockturtle said...

Why are so many middle-agers so far in debt? Is it because they were unwilling, when young, to live within their means? It would be wonderful if there was still an interest incentive to get more people to save but I wonder if people budget for savings any more? Or do they even have budgets? I don't believe either of my kids does. Sad.

tim in vermont said...

We lost our house once, had to do a short sale. We would sing some song about "homeless" at the time, but we knew we were just temporarily broke. Which turned out to be the case. Of course we had a bourgeois values family that fell some obligation to help us get back on our feet in a new state with better prospects, but if I were living in a Volvo, I think I might drive it someplace more livable, and sorry to say this pet lovers, I would lose the dogs. If I were really in desperate straits, I mean.

tim in vermont said...

But having sold almost all of our stuff aside from heirloom jewelry on the front lawn for a grub stake once, I can't be that sorry for them.

tim in vermont said...

The funny thing is, now that I think of it, I did have a Volvo, 740. Sold it to start a business. Rode mass transit for a while, used a bicycle. I still sort of miss that little sailboat we sold for almost nothing. Sorry, not sorry.

Freeman Hunt said...

The comments in this thread aren't about homeless people generally; they are about this particular homeless person. People get into a routine and forget that there are other options in life. It can be helpful for someone to come along and say, "You don't have to live like this. Here's a way to change things."

Rabel said...

Ellen actually came up with a damned good way to beat homelessness, if only for a limited time. At 39, unemployed and unskilled, she was on the verge of being on the street.

So she went back to school and used student loans to spend seven years living in the warm cocoon of subsidized college.

I suggest that she get to work on her next degree right away.

JaimeRoberto said...

Maybe she should try Fresno State or Bakersfield State instead.

I'm all in favor of making student loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy if taxpayers are not the lenders or guarantors of the loans and banks are not forced to make the loans. It probably would greatly reduce the number of students in the Victimization Studies departments.

Ray said...

>Of course, states generally require a license to teach in a public school.

Good point about the crazy certifications required for K-12.. You can have a PhD, and be allowed to teach at Harvard, but you can't teach in K-12. And teaching certification is different for each state! And you need to keep on doing the continual education. I agree with the comment about teaching education not being very good...

There was one book that upset me a lot in my teaching education / certification, getting white out of the classroom (something like that). I got a Masters in Education, but figured it was not for me after my experience doing student teaching in LAUSD at a school with a 60% drop out rate, sigh. Still paying that student loan.

Some states allow you to teach while you work on your certification.

The problem of being an English Teacher, besides too much supply, is the grading. Special Ed. I see as a lot easier if you can take it, and jobs are plentiful. I subbed a lot. And then got teachers certificates in Social Studies (just took the test, hobby / interest of mine) and Business (MBA in).

>She should move someplace with an OK teaching environment, and get a job teaching
>English in high school in a public school. That way she can retire her loans in X
> years.

EDH said...

So much of what the establishment elite has wrought on this country is on display here.

Looking at the little Hernandez girl makes me hopeful she'll come out of the experience better emotionally than most upper middle class kids because, although struggling, her family is intact and close.

On a recent evening, Benito Hernandez returned to a crammed RV in Mountain View after laying flagstones for a home in Atherton, where Zillow pegs the median value of a house at $6.5 million. He rents the RV for $1,000 a month and lives there with his pregnant wife and children...

"This is not a crisis of unemployment that's leading to poverty around here," said Tom Myers, executive director of Community Services Agency, a nonprofit based in Mountain View. "People are working."

...Last week, Mountain View officials posted signs banning vehicles more than 6 feet high on some parts of the street where Saldana, Hernandez and others living in RVs were parked, saying they were creating a traffic hazard. The average RV is well over that height.


Sanctuary in theory, maybe, but not in my bike lane?

Kevin said...

Boss: If your initial investment is a half a million dollars and
your apartments are up in March, you should have x amount of
dollars rolling in by the end of this year.

Navin: Ah, x amount. That's very good isn't it.

Con Man: Not only that, you can depreciate the entire building for
the full amount!

Navin: Depreciate! Hum, very good. I like that.

Con Man: And, we found a way to get around this fair housing crap!

Navin: Ah, good. Getting around the crap! That's good!

Con Man 2: By keeping the rents high, we're going to appeal to a
select class of people.

Navin: Select class. Very, very good.

Boss: We'll keep the eggplants out!

Navin: Ah good! We don't want any vegetables.

Con Man: Na, na. The jungle bunnies!

Navin: Oh of course! They'll eat the vegetables!

Con Man: Boss, could I talk to him? We're going to keep out the niggers!

Navin: The what?

Boss: The niggers! We'll keep 'em out.

Navin: Sir, you are talking to a nigger!

Gahrie said...

So she went back to school and used student loans to spend seven years living in the warm cocoon of subsidized college.

I know people who take out more student loans and continue to go to school so that they don't have to start paying off the loans they have already taken.

Char Char Binks said...

Moral: Studying Steinbeck doesn't pay as well as studying Einstein.

Wilbur said...

I'd like to know what she did for the first 45 years of her life, until she got this wild hair to get two degrees in English. Hell, when I started out college 45 years ago, everyone knew that was a dead end path unless you were going to work for a newspaper or magazine.

Fernananindiananaide said...
I don't see why people major in English cuz everbody talks pretty good without any extry learnin.

"A lot of folks that ain't saying ain't, ain't eating." Dizzy Dean, when criticized about his usage and grammar on the radio.

Nancy Reyes said...

when did she get her degrees? She is 53. So she borrowed that money in her 40's? What did she study? Why is the college job paying her so little? Why doesn't she teach high school? Why is she living in an area where homes are so expensive? Does her husband have a job?

The zoning laws making housing expensive are a political problem. But she seems to have made a lot of questionable choices in her life.


The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"Moral: Studying Steinbeck doesn't pay as well as studying Einstein"

I can attest to that. Should be on the gate of every university.

Unknown said...

Here's the lesson this teacher offers for your consideration: Do not pay >$143,000 for a college degree(s) that qualifies you for a $28,000 per year job.

-sw

Michael K said...

Interesting thread.

Cookie is as clueless as I would expect.

I know people without degrees making very good money and living well.

I got my degrees in the era when I could work in the summer and make enough to pay a years's tuition at a private university,

Student loans were a great benefit at first but they became malignant about the same time as useless degrees became so common.

Unknown said...

The student loans were her choice, and a very, very bad choice.

Wilbur said...

What kind of a lending system would give someone like her $140,000+ just on her unsecured promise to pay it back?

Surrrrre, let the government pay for college for EVERYONE. What could possibly go wrong?

Why do the advocates just ignore basic economic tenets? After all, these aren't unexpected consequences. They're obvious.

RigelDog said...

Having been unemployed several times, I know just how easy it can be to be homeless. We were so very lucky that my wife had a steady job (teacher) but if she had not been steadily employed we would have been out on the street."}}}}

Yes, there but for the grace of God go any of us---but that is not this couple's situation, at least not as far as the article tells us. This woman is not doing the ONLY work in the only place she possibly could live in America; she appears to be doing the kind of work that she loves and then chooses to live in a highly desirable area. EXAMPLE: My husband and I could quit our jobs which pay well, and move from the cold Northeast to Palo Alto--I hear that it's lovely--where we could pursue our passions in low-paying jobs. I'd love to be an historical docent. In a few years our money would run out and we wouldn't be able to afford rent there on a docent's salary...and at that point we would be exactly as "homeless" as the woman in the article.

Marcus said...

If you move to Florida, to register and title your vehicle can be between $$260 and $300 plus if you bought your car in the six months prior to your move, Florida wants sales tax!!

Gretchen said...

In Colorado my cleaning person charges $25 hour, if she bills 35 hours a week and takes 2 weeks off a year she makes about 43K. Maybe cleaning houses is a better path to financial stability than racking up hundreds of thousands in debt and working for slave wages. Just saying'.

I am very sorry people rack up debt without gaining marketable skills, she probably could have spent 2 years at community college, at the cost of about 10K total and gotten a technical certificate in graphic design, HVAC, bookkeeping or the like and would be making much, much more.

iqvoice said...

I have no sympathy whatsoever for a 'homeless' person who owns two dogs. For one thing, it's not fair to the dogs to spend all day living inside a Volvo.

Daniel Jackson said...

Currently much of the university system is a glorified ponzi scheme offering fantastic returns in a market with massive supply and very little demand. Some markets are expanding but usually not and the returns on investment are not always forthcoming, if at all.

Graduate school departments might swear there are no guarantees of gainful employment at the end of the six to sevens years of servitude but there is always an understood enabling of the dream that if you struggle you will succeed.

Fact is, the post war university system has worked on a sort of input/output process where they make it easy to get in; hard to get through; and wish you well when you get out. Getting letters of reference, gateways to good offers, etc, often require "learning to play the system" or, my personal favorite, "proper socialization."

Universities need students (hence, the very low qualifications for GUARANTEED STUDENT LOANS) as well as retain them. Elitism and social warrior consciousness are some of the ways this culture of confidence people work. Failing to meet social standards have as much to do with post graduate failure as personal choice.

There is a lot invested in getting a graduate degree (it's supposed to MEAN something, it is said) and few want to admit that teaching part-time is both a mark of failure and a mark of indentured servitude. Leaving is the glib option. There are high exit costs and entering a new market low on the "experience" totem pole.

This is why the biblical wisdom is that the poor shall always be with us.

As for WHO is responsible for these dumb choices and clearly lemon degrees, I would suggest we look directly at who is doing the GUARANTEEING in the GUARANTEE. The underwriter of these loans clearly bears responsibility. Blaming the victim is a bit outre and it pains me to read some of these rather misguided comments.

More germane is to ask why has this system been enabled. Clearly universities are encouraging people to pay for the Dope they are selling as it is clear that the underwriters are either ignorant of the market (and hence, the horrible rate of return) or are part of the corruption dividing up the swag.

I would suggest that the subject of the comments was "recruited" because of her prior grotty "life experience" to study English so she could put her life in WORDS.

You go to school nowadays for a dream; otherwise you go to work. Alas, the dreamers are the marks; and many are all too willing to play the game to get a good letter or a good job.

I feel for her anger and for how she's been abused; but, the "villains" in this story are not being named.

traditionalguy said...

Salinas Valley is where she needs to go. Why pack in to the San Francisco Bay morass.

Robert Cook said...

"@Robert Cook:'No one is forced to go to college, of course, but then...how many jobs dishwashing and bartending jobs can even America sustain?'

"Looking down one's nose at those without college degrees has not been politically successful lately. Way to show Solidarity with the Workers."

11/7/17, 10:10 AM


I'm not looking down my nose at anyone without college degrees. I have good (and smart) friends who never went to college. I'm deploring America's lack of jobs that pay living wages. Those that do often require college degrees or even post-graduate degrees? Why? Simply credentialing, to permit exclusion of those "not our kind." I've long believed that most jobs in America could be done by any bright, hard-working, eager-to-learn person with simply a high school degree. But when job requirements include higher degrees, it doesn't matter how smart and hard-working an applicant may be; he or she won't even be called to interview.

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie is as clueless as I would expect.

"I know people without degrees making very good money and living well."


Yes, and I know people who would never vote for Trump. This is an illustration of who you know, not of the entire cohort of workers. How many people today do you think can find good jobs making good money and live very well without college degrees, (or even with college degrees)? The truth is, we're becoming a jobless society, through automation and outsourcing, through conversion of permanent jobs with good pay and benefits to temp jobs, part-time jobs, "private contracting" jobs...anything that will allow our corporate masters to maximize their bottom lines at the expense of everyone else.

"I got my degrees in the era when I could work in the summer and make enough to pay a years's tuition at a private university."

What about people today? They're fucked if they do and they're fucked if they don't, (get a college degree). In either course, they may be doomed to a lifetime of low-paying dead end jobs, (or no jobs), and in one course, they will be burdened with inescapable, crushing debt.

But...you got yours when the getting was good, so fuck them, right? Talk about clueless!