• Joanne Jacobs

Federalizing community colleges is a bad idea

Federal funding for K-14 schooling is a bad idea, argues Jim Blew, co-author of the Defense of Freedom Institute’s Free College or False Promise. (Guess which one he picks.)


Students at James Sprunt Community College in North Carolina

President Biden's proposal to pay community college tuition -- directly to the colleges not to the students -- rewards institutions for meeting federal priorities rather than local needs, Blew writes.


It also funds the expansion of colleges that aren't helping most students earn a degree or improve their job prospects: Of first-time, full-time community college students, only 35 percent complete a credential in six years.


Many states heavily subsidize community colleges, keeping tuition very low for lower-income students, Blew writes. (California waives the already low tuition for most community college students.)


"Free college" doesn't solve the big problem: Many community college students aren't prepared to pass college-level courses.


"The key to fixing our education and workforce problems is not to throw federal dollars at adding 13th and 14th grades to our under-performing K-12 system, hoping somehow that will improve student outcomes," Blew concludes. "The answer lies in reimagining our one-size-fits-all education assembly line."

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