I wrote a blog a few months ago about supporting Bernie Sanders. I like him, up to a point, but he's been making promises he can't keep now. He's built up a big following among the 18 to 20 something voters by, among other things, promising Free College.
As a guest on Jimmy Kimmel's show recently, Bernie compared the need for a College Degree to a High School Diploma 50 years ago. Fifty years ago a High School Diploma was enough to get a good job, but now employers want a College Degree. So college should be free now like High School was 50 years ago.
Employers require a College Degree for two reasons – to screen out applicants by cutting down the pile of applications, and to find someone who is able to perform at least at a HS level. An AA Degree from a Community College is like a High School Diploma now.
I graduated High School 65 years ago. A High School diploma 50+ years ago demonstrated a High School education. Now, and I know this from my experience teaching online for University of Phoenix, a High School diploma from some school districts barely demonstrates an Elementary School education.
When my mother attended public school in the 1920's, High School wasn't required. An 8th Grade education was enough for most jobs. My paternal Grandmother was an elementary school teacher. She attended what was called "Normal School," which was a three year college program for teachers.
For many years the only jobs for educated women were teaching at Public Schools, which is probably why schools were so much better up through the 1960's. Once women had access to other professions, Doctors, Lawyers, and Indian Chiefs, Public Schools had to make due with whoever couldn't get a better job.
I know I'll get reamed for saying that and it isn't entirely true. There are some great teachers who love the profession and choose to be teachers. But women have many more career opportunities to choose from now, which wasn't available 50 years ago.
So back to Bernie and his free college. State Universities already have low tuition for residents of the state. Most states have very good public Universities, especially California. They are not free but there are student loans, grants, and other assistance for residents who cannot afford tuition. Also students can live at home and commute to college and not have to pay dorm fees or for food service.
Public colleges in most states already provide many students the opportunity for a low cost college degree. I'm for low or no-interest college loans and longer terms to repay them, but promising free college at a national level is not something Bernie or anyone else running for President can deliver.