Saturday, April 11, 2015

'Free' Community College: Building on Failure

In an editorial published in January 2015, Free community college deserves a chance, the New Jersey Star-Ledger wrote:

But it doesn’t take much foresight to see why [President Obama’s] initiative is critical: We are miles behind the Asian nations and Western Europe in cognitive skills and educational attainment (14th overall), we don’t crack the global top-20 in math or science or reading, and those who cannot afford college have abandoned hope of owning a piece of the American dream.

And for all these blessings, 40 million students from every social class are dealing with $1.2 trillion in outstanding debt.

So clearly it is time to hit the reset on the century-old model of K-through-12 education, and give an overlooked segment of our next workforce the academic training it needs to compete globally.

I left these comments on the comment page titled Does free community college deserve a chance?:

Responsibility for the generally mediocre performance of America’s K-12 schools and the burgeoning student college debt can only be laid at the doorstep of government. K-12 is essentially a government-run monopoly, and overburdening student debt is an outgrowth of the government’s easy-money college financing schemes. Since federal student loan/grant programs got going in earnest, college tuition has risen 1120%—4 times the rate of inflation. All that student debt gave us is a college system that is more unaffordable than ever. And the fix for these government-caused educational problems is to double down on that failure—government as champion of its own victims?

The Star-Ledger calls Obama’s latest scheme a means of “launching millions of kids into the middle class.” Just how does the Star-Ledger define “middle class”? The middle class is built on self-reliance, and it is economic and political liberty that launched the middle class by liberating average people to produce and trade in pursuit of personal values under a government that protects individuals’ right to keep and use the product of their own labor. Another entitlement boondoggle is not a path to middle class status. It is another step toward turning the middle class into a welfare class dependent on government, which has always been the “progressives” long-term goal.

Another entitlement boondoggle is not the worst of it, though. As I explained in my article, Obama’s “Free” Community College Scheme is immoral on several counts. It violates the rights of taxpayers by forcing some people to pay for other people’s community college, kills off competing private career colleges, and will lead to a federal takeover of community college curriculums.

The comparison to the GI bill is particularly frightening.  The GI Bill provides college financing to vets as compensation for military service. If Obama’s scheme is to be another GI Bill, it could mean only one thing: It will be a precursor to a universal draft into national service to “society”; i.e., to the state—a path to fascism.

It “clearly . . . is time to hit the reset on the century-old model of K-through-12 education.” We need the opposite approach. End federal involvement in higher education financing. Install universal tax credits for K-12 so people can, if they choose, spend their own education dollars as they, rather than government bureaucrats, see fit. Rather than allow another chance for government to further consolidate control over education, our wallets, and our futures, we should move toward education liberty. More individual freedom in education would be a good first step in reinvigorating the middle class, because self-reliance, not entitlement, is the hallmark of a true middle class.


The Star-Ledger says Free community college deserves a chance. I say, government intervention and control of education has had its chance, and it has failed. The results are in: millions of K-12 youngsters are “left behind”—failed by a one-size-fits-all, centrally planned system. College has become an over-priced financial albatross. It’s time to put parents in charge of their children’s education; entrepreneurial educators in charge of curriculum and method; and taxpayers in charge of their own money.

Related Reading:

To Fight "Free" College, Fight "Free" Education

No comments: