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.