Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Bigger Picture

     There's been some good news coming from, of all people (!), Gov. Cuomo. Free tuition at state and city colleges. If you are a parent to a college bound teenager you know what a big deal this is for many of us. Some of us may actually be able to retire before we drop dead. Let me briefly explain - college tuition has skyrocketed over the past decade. I know many young adults who have hundreds of thousands of dollars in college loan debts. I know many more exhausted middle-aged, middle-class ( making under $125,000) parents that are working two jobs to help their children.
     There are many ways one can look at this - a boon or a potential bust. If tuition is free, can all children of families that make under 125k attend, even the vast number that are graduating NYC public high schools woefully unprepared for college? When they start retaking all those classes they took in high school and passed, for zero credits, will they presist and catch up or drop out? How long will they be allowed to take those remedial classes and/or attend college? Will the college professors be expected to pass them regardless of real learning, just like their high school teacher counterparts? Will the colleges be held accountable by the city and state if there are low graduation rates from their NYC public hs grads - now 'free' students? (Or will it necessitate real change from the high schools to prepare their graduates?) Will those students value their education because it's free, or throw it away like free lunch at a food fight?
     I don't believe anything of value should be given away. It devalues it in the eyes of the giver and recipient. All students, including my children and students, should work part time at whatever college they attend for free. It could be helping other students, library work or something of benefit to the college. I think it's very important to instill values - I don't see that happening at all on the high school level. It's important that young people not grow up feeling they are entitled to everything they want, especially those things that require hard work and sacrifice.
   Free college is wonderful. I thank Gov. Cuomo and the NYS legislature that signed it into the budget. It is my fondest hope that all students that can benefit from free tuition will take advantage of a higher education and respect it as a magnificent opportunity.

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