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  • Is it time to offer free public education for every single American?
  • Posted By:
  • Karen W.
  • Posted On:
  • 30-Jan-2015
  • There is no doubt that our country is seeing trying times as far as higher education is concerned. What with the skyrocketing tuition frees, students being saddled with student loan for life and with decreasing quality of education, it often leads us to wonder as to where we stand. As if all this is not enough, we are also forced to mention the fall in our world ranking in terms of quality of education.

    So, where exactly did we go wrong? What happened to our legacy of top quality education that attracted thousands of students from across the world? We were once the envy of everyone and now we are looking around awe struck at leading universities in other countries dishing out to students what we were once recognized for.

    Five decades ago, federal, state and local governments stood united in their commitment to offer free public education throughout the country. This was supported by the US National Student Association. The idea back then was to promote democracy and create a dynamic society infusing each and every individual with freedom of expression and spirit.

    Along the way, with recession and various political issues, this commitment has taken a back seat. In fact, it never even came into effect. On the contrary, the situation worsened leaving our students floundering.

    After a long, long time, it was with happiness we heard our President use the words free college in his State of the Union address. Finally, at least there is a mention about what we committed to our students fifty years ago. So, how realistic is Obama’s proposal? When you look at it in today’s situation, it is a big deal.

    It is however quite encouraging that the words free and college were used in the same sentence by our President in his State of Union address and in Tennessee. If the promise goes through, this big deal would entail offering funds to states to completely wipe out tuition at community colleges.

    Each student would receive funding of up to $3,800 and the best part is the aid is not limited to this. It would extend to covering the student’s living expenses through additional aid. We heave a sigh of relief, hail our President for putting forth this proposal, about time too, and welcome his initiative to fight for free college.

    Our strong belief is public education in our country must not be charged. Our system of education should be inclusive and egalitarian. The best way to eliminate inequality in our country is to invest in providing broader higher education access.

    The groundwork for this initiative was laid by the Occupy Wall Street movement. It led to victory for the minimum wage fight in the country. Free college should be our goal in the coming couple of years. A new movement with comprehensive and clear demand for free college must be set in motion. This is the time for reform and it is important for students and education reformers to hold on to this momentum until the goal is reached.







 

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