A few weeks ago President Barack Obama unveiled an ambitious proposal to make two years of community college free and universal. It’s referred to as “America’s College Promise” that, as of today, holds only sketchy details other than the fact that the Federal Government would provide about three-quarters of the funding and the expectation that participating states would cover the cost of the remaining one-quarter. Starting just with the required state match, it appears there would be many strings attached to this program—for states, for educational institutions, and for students.
It is outstanding, however, that our top elected officials at both the state and national level truly understand the opportunities and promise that community and technical colleges hold, both for people and for our growing and changing economy. But given the political dynamics of Washington, I think this proposal (although an incredible opportunity for this country) is a long shot, and it’s frankly even a longer shot that Wisconsin would voluntarily participate in a match program given our own politics and financial condition. Continue reading