Sunday, June 25, 2017

Republican Tennessee Leads in Making 2 Year College Free

Civic Minded Conservatives Can Benefit the Nation

This Forum and a lot of other sources look upon modern so-called conservatism as a danger to the health and prosperity of the nation.  But this is not a foregone conclusion and in Tennessee Republicans who control the state have done a great thing.  They have extended the right of young adults for education to providing for a free 2 year diploma.

Candace Ogilvie, a counselor at Antioch High School in south Nashville, assists students and parents with the Tennessee Promise application process. CreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

SMYRNA, Tenn. — A high school assembly changed Nicole-Lynn Riel’s life.
In the fall of 2014, as Ms. Riel, a senior, was applying for jobs at Red Lobster, J. C. Penney and Target, a speaker came to her school to talk about a new state program, Tennessee Promise, that would pay the tuition for all students at the state’s community colleges.
When the speaker said school would be free for everyone, Ms. Riel said, she “perked up and said, ‘What?’”
This month, Ms. Riel graduated from Motlow State Community College here, and she will soon start working toward her bachelor’s degree at a four-year school.
Yep, that is correct. And the program has benefited the entire community.

Enrollment at community and technology colleges for first-time freshmen has climbed by 30 percent. And a majority of Tennessee Promise students who began at a community college in the fall of 2015 were still in school this year, compared with fewer than half of those who were not Promise recipients, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Of course national conservatives will recoil in horror at such a program, it costs money and does not benefit the most wealthy of citizens.  But now there is hope that decency and compassion will overcome greed and hate.

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