28.12.04

COLLEGE FOR EVERYBODY? Garance at Tapped sounds the tocsin to defend universal college access.
It's very important if you are trying to create a society where no one expects government help that you first teach the young that they are going to have to do everything on their own and finance their own educations through debt-instruments, such as credit cards and student loans, rather than relying on any sort of collective assistance program, such as federal grants. You might think that reducing aid for young people to go to college would negatively impact the nation's economic future by reducing pathways into the middle-class and the number of skilled workers in the labor force. But it's quite essential to the ongoing Republican effort to re-educate the American public toward a more individualistic philosophy of government that the citizenry be taught early that they can expect no outside assistance and that as soon as they leave the parental nest, they are really and truly on their own.
You might think that the returns to education are sufficiently high that student loans -- or working your way through college -- perhaps with interest payment tax deductions similar to those for mortgage interests -- would suffice for people to finance their own educations.

That observation about "leaving the parental nest" is precious, too. I wonder: how many of the interns, writers, stringers, or editors at the national opinion magazines, left or right (pick Reason or The American Prospect or The Washington Monthly or National Review or The Progressive or The Weekly Standard or The Nation or New Republic) worked their way through a mid-major, perhaps while holding a day job and raising a kid. (Is there an affirmative-action case here: Ivy League graduates work in the national opinion magazines in numbers disproportionate to their representation in the national population of university graduates.) This talk about universal college access is easy for people to indulge in, if they've never had to see what it means for the pace of the class, or had to contend with twice as many bodies vying for space in their classes, or compared notes with someone who has. As King at SCSU Scholars notes, it will be St. Cloud State and Western Illinois and the community colleges absorbing these additional students: it won't be Harvard or Dartmouth or in all likelihood Michigan or Cal doing the accommodating.

No comments: