Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tennessee’s Republican Governor Takes a Big Step Forward Towards Supporting Education and Economic Growth in America

But Just Wait Until His Fellow Republicans Hear About This

A big difference between Republican legislators and Republican Governors is that Governors must actually govern, while legislators simply pontificate.  This explains why Republican members of Congress and of state legislators say and do and vote for a bunch of loony ideas.  The ideas almost never get implemented, and if they do there are a bunch of other loony legislators to blame so the blame is diluted.

But Governors must actually do things.  So in many states, even states that are rock ribbed Republican, once in office the Governors do sometimes support good policies.  (Okay, not people like Rick Perry of Texas, but he is a southerner and the rules are as strong there).  Case in point is the position taken by Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam, who supports universal public education going beyond high school and continuing through two years of community college.

Public colleges have sharply raised their prices since the 1990s in the face of declining state support, but a plan by Tennessee’s governor to make two years of community college and technical school free for all students represents a striking reversal of that trend.

Tennessee would be the only state in the country to charge no tuition or fees to incoming students under the proposal by Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, which policy analysts called a big step toward a better-educated work force.
“This is the best idea to boost participation in higher education in a generation,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, a major association of public and private colleges.

Mr. Haslam made it the centerpiece of his State of the State address on Monday, calling for two years of free schooling for state residents with high school diplomas or equivalency degrees, without regard to academic credentials or financial need. The change requires approval by the state legislature, whose leaders reacted favorably to the idea.

It is hard to find a better idea in government these days, and hard to find one that is more likely to be opposed by hard line conservatives.  Right now a high school education is an entitlement, everyone in America is entitled to a free public education through the 12th grade.  That entitlement itself is hated by conservatives, after all it’s not in the Constitution and is being paid for by taxpayers.  The idea of adding 2 more years to the entitlement must surely drive them bonkers.

But for the rest of the population, the sane and rational group this is a fantastic concept.  Congrats Gov. Haslam, you have our vote. 

No comments:

Post a Comment