Published: Sunday, Sept. 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
Re: "State universities and community colleges should offer free tuition to
all students . . . ."Yeah, and states should also offer
"free" license plates, and "free" health care, and cities should
offer "free" electricity and utilities, and the federal government
should offer "free" lifetime passes to all national parks, and
"free" tax rebates, and . . . .It's sad to see such
self-serving silliness offered as valid American public policy.There
is no such thing a free lunch. Real people know this. It's high time
political and academic theorists learned some of the basic truths of life and
living that they've so assiduously insulated themselves from for so long.
I can only see how much tuition has increased when the government wanted and
started to help. You can lead a kid to collage but you can't make them
It's a nice dream, but it won't happen in the US anytime soon. We
can't even seem to agree on any other much more pressing ideas. Moot point.
Georgia gives free tuition to high school graduates who maintain a "B"
average. The program is paid for with lottery dollars, not taxes. I wonder
what innovative educational improvements we could make with our lottery
earnings? Oh, wait...
Back in the late 1950's and early 1960's, my first two years of
undergraduate work at Hunter College of the City University of New York were
tuition free AND books were free on loan from a central repository. Things
changed gradually after those two years, some tuition charges assessed and books
no longer free on loan. The system I was admitted under was, of course,
unsustainable. No state or populous metropolis is in a long-term position
fiscally to underwrite "free" higher education. Nationally, though?
We're just now beginning to see the reduced outcomes
nationally of reliance on states for the main funding of public education,
K-12. Not all states are created equal, and the differences between them in
public education have become VERY evident. International assessments of
educational outcomes show the U.S. declining rapidly in numerous areas, the main
drivers of the decline states which have not been able to produce the results
richer states like Massachusetts have. National effort in funding and long-term
planning is behind the success stories in increasing numbers of countries. It
works K-12. It can at higher levels as well. Real commitment to
education can work.
So what would the author propose to cut out of present government spending to
pay for college education? That's the most revealing question to answer.
I have lots of ideas.
The irony is that you CAN take classes for top 10 universities for free on
coursera dot you know but you just can't get any credit for your
knowlege.The cost of distributing say a calculus course by the
internet is so low, Stanford doesn't charge a penny for it's Coursera
course. So why do we allow this? Why are credentials more important
than knowledge? Fix that and our education problems are solved.
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