President Obama, not surprisingly, called for more government spending as part of his State of the Union speech. He called for two years of ‘free’ community college for anyone who met certain basic requirements. Specifically, the student must keep a 2.5 GPA, attend class at least half time, and make ‘steady progress’. Fees would be paid for programs deemed ‘effective’ by the government based on graduation & employment rates.
My first concerns is what Uncle Sam would deem ‘effective’. Are they going to pay for these ridiculous degrees in gender studies & ‘queer theory’? Or would it be limited to things like nursing, pre-med, business, hard science, and technical fields like HVAC & electricians?
How is ‘steady progress’ defined? Would someone who’s determined to be a career student by constantly changing degrees be eligible? Will we once again have lower expectations of this so called ‘steady progress’ for certain favored groups of people?
My bigger worry though is cost. Sure, education is a key to success in this world. People whose education stops at High School are incredibly limited. But history’s shown us that as government pays for things, they get more expensive, and no government programs have ever cost what we were told they would.
In 1965, Medicare was projected to cost about $12 billion by 1990. The actual cost was over $110 billion.
In 1987, DSH (disproportionate share hospital) spending was projected to cost about $1 billion by 1992. Actual spending was $17 billion.
Cost overruns are hardly limited to spending on health care, either.
Defense programs are hotbeds of examples. The V-22 Osprey was projected to cost $23 million in 1990. By 2001 that cost had soared to $90 million. The F22 Raptor’s initial estimated cost was $89 million (1992), but by 2002 that had ballooned to nearly $250 million. Many of us remember the infamous $90 hammers and $600 toilet seats, too.
Highway construction, research projects and government travel are just a few other areas where government spends far more than it needs to.
It’s easy to see this latest expansion of government spending (states will have to pitch in, too), will likely end up costing taxpayers not $60 billion, but at least $150 billion over 10 years.
Not only that, but with more federal involvement comes more federal control. Uncle Sam mandates this, that & the other thing to get those federal dollars. Community colleges will be required to implement courses spouting the latest PC nonsense, and hire someone to spout that nonsense.
And, too often, when people are handed a ‘free’ education, they’re not as likely to apply themselves to it. They’ll often float through, doing the minimum possible, in order to stay on the government dole.
Does college cost too much? Sure! But let’s take a look at some of the areas that are driving the cost up. Let’s look at the professors who teach one or two classes a semester while earning bloated salaries. Let’s look at the administrators. Let’s examine the endowments, & the ludicrous cost of textbooks. How much is spent on remedial classes every year?
Sure, we can improve America’s education system. We can help young men & women be better prepared for college, and can work to lower the cost of further education, whether it’s a college or a Vo-Tech school. I don’t think throwing more taxpayer money at the problem is necessarily the answer.