In a proposal for a new federal entitlement, President Obama is pushing for a “free community college” plan. Along with taking regulatory control from states, this proposal would add tens of billions in taxpayer obligations. Furthermore, it does not address the fact that the rate at which C.C. students finish two years with useful credentials is dismal. Also not being addressed is that increasing graduation rates does not automatically add more skilled labor to the workforce. K-thru-12 education in the U.S. is an unmitigated failed system. Why would anyone want a federal bureaucratic monster involved in more useless educational years for young adults? And as Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute points out, “As long as taxpayers pick up much of the college tab instead of the students consuming the education, waste will be rife.”
A public policy question worth asking is, how can businesses and the public shift away from the mindset of a college degree and instead emphasize the need for competency-based programs and micro-certifications that make students eager to learn and businesses eager to hire? According to the WSJ, companies like Google, AT&T and Facebook are at the forefront of seeking young talent from alternative skill-based programs.
Noting that the root of the problem of higher education is government subsidies, Mr. McCluskey explains here why President Obama’s plan to offer free community college to any “responsible” student is a bad idea.