OPINION: Letter to the Editor: How free is free education

Bill Cushings/ English Dept.

Both President Obama and Bernie Sanders fought for “free” community college, and now it encores at ELAC. After all, educated citizens help society.

However, what does “free” education cost? At some point, bills need paying—unless staff and faculty are prepared to give their time and energy for nothing. Any takers?

Who pays for “free” education? Short answer: government.

Problem is, government only pays out what it collects from taxes.

If government pays for education, it gets to regulate it. Then, what students study becomes a state decision.

After that, when does the state decide how students complete coursework, what classes they take, even where graduates work or how much they get paid? Again, any takers?

Suddenly, the notion of “free” gets confusing. U. S. students attending college today do not get their schooling free, but they’re “free” to choose what they pursue.

As to enamored faculty, the same argument applies: how many are prepared to forego autonomy of curriculum, texts, even technique, once government decides how subjects are taught?

Furthermore, this idea’s “curricula” flaw is one of practicality.

Community colleges are effective because they are precisely that: community colleges, dedicated to and operated by their municipalities, adapting and adjusting to regional needs in real time.

If a new industry moves into the area, they can provide training. With government control, prepare for a regulatory slug caring little for those attending or those working at the college.

In short, this becomes a trade of “free” choice for “free” of charge.

It’s a bum deal.

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