Mr. Obama had not yet finished outlining his agenda in the State of the Union that pundits, analysts and self-proclaimed experts all of which jumped on the bandwagon of doom and started to pounce non-stop – like wild animals – at every item in the agenda; one in particular however caught our attention, FREE Community College tuition Mr. Obama proposed, the experts claimed will not work.
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The reason for the DOOMED free community college tuition program ranges from ideology to downright stupidity, and everything in between.
Michael B. Horn of CNN wrote “Unfortunately, his plan doesn’t make the grade. The proposal would not only pile up more debt by further subsidizing runaway college costs, it would also perilously undercut the emergence of more innovative educational programs designed to help students succeed in the workforce…”
Judith Scott-Clayton and Thomas Bailey of Time magazine sounded the alarm with the scary title “The Problem With Obama’s “Free Community College” Proposal“ and strengthened it further with “President Obama’s free college plan won’t actually raise the number of college graduates…” The experts at Time magazine continues “If we want to significantly improve educational outcomes, we need to both make college more affordable so more students can enroll, and make the reforms needed to ensure community college students can succeed in their courses, complete their programs, and graduate within a reasonable amount of time.”
Stuart M. Butler of Brookings wrote “Obama’s SOTU Free College Plan is Bad for Poor Americans.” He continues “…So, given the important role of community colleges, isn’t that a good idea? Unfortunately not, for several reasons.
For one, the plan is badly targeted… What’s more, community college is usually a dead end… So rather than putting so many eggs in the flimsy community college basket, it would be wiser to…”
And of course, the pouncing of the experts would not be complete if Fox Opinion (known by most as Fox News) were not to add its two-cents in; it wrote: “Is Obama’s free community college program unrealistic?” and there was Fox Opinion’s facts check (hilarious oxymoron) “THE FACTS: Zero for qualifying students; an estimated $60 billion over 10 years to the treasury.”
Before Obama proposed the community college tuition free program, there were just two States (Tennessee & Illinois) that were tinkering with the idea; per the latest, it seems the program is doing so well which explains why Mr. Obama decided to extend it nationwide. If you put your Republican or Democrat or Independent hat aside for a moment, it should not be hard to embrace the idea. According to a 2012 Global Education Ranking published in the November 27 2012 issue of the International Business Times, US ranks 17th trailing South Korea, Finland, Japan, Singapore, UK, Canada, should I go on?
** Forget about the cost of the program; no one expects social programs to be realistically free, not even the idea that it’s free for students to attend a community college; there is always a price to pay, somewhere, somewhat, somehow. That aside, its cost shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Our government spent in just two completely useless, unplanned wars a combined total of $1.5 trillion dollars (based on Feb 2014 data) which translates roughly to $4,800 for each and every citizen living in the United States. So, money is not an issue; the article Cost of Education vs Cost of War sheds some light into the matter.
** Forget about its imperfection; we live in an imperfect world; we’re all imperfect. Obama, the CEO of the country, sets the course; it’s now everybody’s job to contribute to fine tune the idea and make it work. It is perhaps opportune time for the experts to discuss a framework within which the program will work; it is the elected officials’ duty both in Washington and throughout the States to enact legislations and implement policies to make the idea work.
The “bashing Obama song” for everything he proposes is getting a little old; besides, whether you’re a democrat or republican or independent, it is an issue we can all relate to. Education is not a Party issue. Education is everyone’s issue. Education is the key to the future; let’s stop the bashing and give everyone a key to his/her future.Follow @mducheiney
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