Thus argues Via Media.
The idea that everybody needs four or even two years of academic instruction after high school is madness. When so many students leave high school with something much less than an adequate proficiency in key subjects, it makes much more sense to fix the fundamentals of the system than to tack on more and more years at the end.
It's the Distressed Material, stupid.

Making community college, or college more generally, free, doesn't fix the fundamental problem.  "If free education were valued, then all students would graduate high school and community college would not be necessary as a kind of do-over high school." (Emphasis in the original.)

Yes, and get the community colleges out of the do-over high school mode, and that would allow them to demonstrate their comparative advantages in the skilled trades and general education.  I suspect morale among students, faculty, and administrators would improve.
What this country desperately needs is more technical and vocational training, preparation to become tax-paying workers. I read twenty years ago that the average age of a tool and die maker was 55. Carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, cooking, pharmacy tech, caregivers. Preparing young people not only for useful employment, but also for entrepreneurial ventures. You know, the “you didn’t build that” kind of folks that used to be the backbone of this country.
Proficiencies provided properly and in order, forsooth.

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