Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Graduation from a posh college is a routine affair. Most students expect it, and are scarcely attentive during the ceremony. Graduation from community college, in contrast, reflects profound personal struggle against their environment and sometimes their own limitations (i.e., struggles with language, learning disabilities). The students aren't dry-eyed, so perhaps the professors who helped them through don't need to be either.If I thought #1 would view graduation with some kind of emotion and sense of accomplishment, that would be worth the price of admission, which admittedly is small.
Second, a new report suggests that there is a crisis in funding community colleges in California, according to a group of business and labor leaders. But this is a good deal overstated. Only half of the over 700,000 additional seats in community colleges are for new graduates; the remainder are "a hidden tidal wave" of older workers who would increase their skills. But isn't that just a subsidy to businesses who don't want to pay for training themselves? And labor leaders are more likely to find membership in skilled labor areas as free trade moves more unskilled jobs offshore, decreasing the potential for unions to force up wages. Why would taxpayers wish to subsidize that?
If the experience is as Sharp's article suggests, subsidies should be unnecessary.