Free college is a bad joke that refuses to die. Senator Bernie Sanders just joined Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) to have another try at a federal promise of college for the masses.1 Sanders’ press release about the College for All Act talks of how things are different from the days when a high school diploma was enough.
Arne Duncan left Chicago and a school system dominated by unions to oversee the Department of Education. Has education in America changed?
The harangues about failing children, a dumb and dumber America losing its place in the world, underpaid teachers, and crumbling school buildings are tired political issues that manage to skirt one big problem: we don’t have enough money for public education in America. Why? Because too many benefit from the money that should be going to kids’ educations. Just ask Arne Duncan and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn how much money goes to pay exorbitant teachers’ pensions instead of preparing children for the future we keep hearing is slipping out of our grasp.
Big education has brought us Common Core, demands to pay exorbitant teacher salaries, battles with unions over wages and benefits, restrictions on what our kids can eat, arguments for training more STEM teachers, and the insistence that anyone coming to America has the right to a free public education whether they should be here or not. These are the issues discussed in the education category.
For better or worse, public education is a government offering for the masses paid for by taxpayers. How much can and should we expect?
“Pipeline to prison” is a slogan you are going to hear many times over the next year. What it means is that no matter how much money taxpayers give to schools, kids are going from kindergarten to the big house because we aren’t paying enough. This should be a comfort to taxpayers in Chicago who just got whacked with the largest property tax increase in city history to pay for retirement pensions, not schools, in a city begging for school funding while residents kill each other.
Sometimes the truth really hurts. It can hurt more than a smack in the mouth or a remark made during a campaign debate, like Chris Christie’s comment about a prominent teachers union deserving a punch in the face. For a lot of us who live in union-friendly cities and states, a punch in the face would be infinitely more pleasurable than having another bite taken from our incomes.
Someone wiser than me confided that the secret to college is understanding that you are persevering against nothing. The only thing you are fighting is yourself as you acquire lots of debt to attend classes you will never use and study long, lonely hours while living like a pauper. If you stick with it, you get a piece of paper with very tangible rewards.