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1 CleverToad  Jan 8, 2015 8:43:07pm

I’ll believe it when I see it. That said, I have many fingers crossed in the fervent hope that he can pull this one off somehow! (hmm, it’s hard to type this way.)

I’m all for the goals they discuss in the article — access, affordability, accountability. Especially access, for anyone willing to invest the time and effort, which supporting the local community colleges will help provide.

(In the interests of fair reporting, must note I have skin in this game: 16-year-old son who wants to be a science teacher when he grows up, and no money to send him to college unless he manages to score a scholarship. ‘Affordable’ is pretty high on my wish list too.)

2 klystron  Jan 8, 2015 8:49:30pm

re: #1 CleverToad

I posted this to the main thread too, but:

I would suggest (if your son has the grades for it) investigating schools looking to boost themselves in the rankings of things like US News - they may be more willing to give scholarships for academic reasons than a lot of other places.

Pretty sure that’s why I got mine.

3 socrets  Jan 8, 2015 8:55:19pm

Personally, I’ve always thought that society could get along with community colleges providing most of the training and education for some, if not most, people in the United States for jobs such as middle/high school teacher/police officer/ and so forth since you don’t need to be an expert on the material but need the information to perform your job properly or improve yourself without having to bear the huge expense of a traditional four year college. The traditional four year universities are probably better off for those who want to be in professions that require significant amounts of knowledge, training, and specialized skills in professions such as doctors, lawyers, and so forth.

4 CleverToad  Jan 8, 2015 9:19:49pm

re: #3 socrets

Yes, community colleges and vocational schools can provide a good mix of general work skills and job-specific training for a lot of fields. Not everyone needs the four-year degree but most people will need more than just high school classes. I’d put teachers in the four-year specialized skills category, though — that’s a grueling profession. Middle school teachers deserve combat pay, in my opinion.

5 freetoken  Jan 9, 2015 1:17:16am

Part of me believes this is a political gimmick, a way to offer up an issue for discussion that makes a proposal sound a bit more significant than it might in reality be.

I’m not saying that community colleges are not significant. What I am proposing is that getting an education at a community college is already largely subsidized by the society, and that the student is usually paying just a fraction of the actual education costs (both operating and capital) through tuition and fees.

At least here in California, where community college tuition used to be nil, today a full time student will pay around $800 per semester in tuition and fees. This no where near covers what it would cost them if the state didn’t already pay for the physical facilities and a portion of the salaries of everyone involved.

Personally, I think everyone should throughout their lives continue to gain new skills and study new areas, at least for a season now and again.

For someone fresh out of high school though it is very critical to make the best use of those quickly fleeting years of maximal learning. So whether it is a community college or some other form of education or training the 18,19, and 20 year olds really need to be engaged full time in bettering themselves.

My own experience over the past 15 years or so, from taking a class here or there at some of the local community colleges, is that more profound than the financial costs is how unprepared so many students appear to be at tackling the more demanding subjects of secondary training. I note especially the lack of communication ability, and poor language both written and spoken.

So I wonder if our society isn’t better served by making sure the first 12 years of education is more successful for the student, than be overly concerned about secondary education. Of course we can do both, but I still believe that the former is our principal weakness, and not the latter.

6 aagcobb  Jan 9, 2015 5:19:25am

If the federal government quit wasting billions sending people to predatory, private for-profit colleges which hand out worthless degrees and leave people buried in student loan debt, it could make tuition at all public universities and colleges free. But this would be a good first step, not that there is a chance in hell this Congress will pass it.

7 socrets  Jan 9, 2015 6:28:46am

re: #5 freetoken

I’m with you on the gimmick part. Part of me thinks he’s finally throwing a bone to the guys who got elected but I think he might be serious since I vaguely remember him propsing something similar in 2012.

8 6monkeys  Jan 9, 2015 3:38:04pm

Please, please, please let this happen! Though, maybe I’m cynical, but I have a feeling that this will not go any further than the proposal.

(Full disclosure: I have a lot of skin in this particular game. By this time next year I will have my B. A. in Literature and will be trying to find grants and/or scholarships that would allow me to enter a Masters of Library Science program. Additionally, my oldest will be starting college in the fall, with 5 more following him over the next 12 years. Free community college would be an amazing help!)

9 CleverToad  Jan 9, 2015 8:21:48pm

re: #8 6monkeys

Good luck with both your MLS and your six students! Yeah, that’s a heckuva a lot of skin in this game.

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