Beyond the Rhetoric – “free” college is a farce

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for higher education. The key word being education, not taking up space and leaving four or five years later still not being able to pass a reading comprehension test. Four years of college can be paid for by taxpayers and it can still be a waste of time if that’s what the student makes of it.

FREE= without cost or payment. I’m guessing we aren’t talking about “free” college or anything else.

“Twelve years of school isn’t enough”? Who says? For a great segment of our population high school, with perhaps vocational training can be more than adequate if the individual makes it so.

Rather than throwing around the promise of “free,” our politicians would help far more Americans if they focused on strengthening pre-college education. If they assured that those who do go to college are fully qualified. That every high school graduate is proficient in reading, basic math skills, civics, economics and history. Today far too many graduates are “graduates” with little proficiency. The high school I graduated from in 1961 now has a math proficiency of 2% … ready for free college?

The problem is not the years of schooling. The problem is the schooling itself and the problem is what each student puts into the process and takes from it. And the problem is the support the family provides to the process and the quality it demands.

Every year in the United States, nearly 60% of first-year college students discover that, despite being fully eligible to attend college, they are not ready for postsecondary studies. That lack of preparedness is most evident in public institutions simply because they accept more students, students who are not ready or perhaps motivated for college.

After enrolling, these students learn that they must take remedial courses in English or mathematics, which do not earn college credits. This gap between college eligibility and college readiness has attracted much attention in the last decade, yet it persists unabated.

While access to college remains a major challenge, states have been much more successful in getting students into college than in providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to complete certificates or degrees. Increasingly, it appears that states or postsecondary institutions may be enrolling students under false pretenses.

Even those students who have done everything they were told to do to prepare for college find, often after they arrive, that their new institution has deemed them unprepared.

Their high school diploma, college-preparatory curriculum, and high school exit examination scores did not ensure college readiness.

Source: Beyond the Rhetoric – Improving College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy

Another government “free” program without meaningful criteria, targeted goals, measures of success or accountability is another waste of money and in the case of education a cruel hoax on many Americans.


  1. All things incur costs, even this free s**t that people want. “Free” college is not free at all. It is just paid for and subsidized with higher taxes. If people want to make arguments for lowering tuition costs, I could give legitimacy to those arguments. What pi**es me off is that these people don’t think about the costs incurred by other people to meet their demands.


  2. “FREE= without cost or payment. I’m guessing we aren’t talking about “free” college or anything else.”
    My dictionary offers the definition “without cost or payment” only for the adverb “free”. However in “free college”, “free” is an adjective, where obviously it doesn’t mean that college doesn’t cost anyone anything.


  3. Greglee – Everything that government does causes prices to increase. Higher Education loans, road construction, public schools, etc. When I was in high school 1971, a friend who delivered cargo to the San Pedro / Long Beach, CA, harbor, for shipment to Vietnam, told me, he got paid double, and his company got paid 3 times the regular shipping rate. What do you call the take over of the healthcare industry with single payer and getting rid of medical insurance, if not socialism. Both Biden and Harris believe that the government can manage healthcare better than private enterprise. Just take a look at the Veterans hospital SNAFU over the last few years, and you liberals think that turning over healthcare to government bureaucrats, is going to work better than the system we have now. I stand by my comment 100%. You sir, are the one that is confused.


      1. According to an NBC News report, Biden campaign officials have already said that Biden’s public option—a specially advantaged government plan to compete against all private health plans—could “pave the path” to a single-payer program in the future.

        This latest version of the public option is the fruit of Biden’s recent policy collaboration with democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Their Unity Task Force recommendations call for the creation of a robust public option—a new government health plan—that would be deployed in competition against private health insurance companies.

        Politicians always say one thing to get elected, and then surprise they do the exact opposite. So, there is that, little fact, that you have forgotten or never knew.


      2. The public option addition to Obamacare is nothing new. It was originally proposed as part of Obamacare, but couldn’t make it through Congress. It is really not at all like a single-payer system and is not socialistic. It is just a propaganda technique to lie about a proposal then attack the lie. Don’t be taken in.


      3. greglee – You believe what you want to believe, about liberal vs socialist or what Biden is for or not for, he changes more than the blowing wind. But, a new survey shows 55% of the younger generation would prefer to live in a socialist country. There has been no government action since I have been watching the D. C. Circus, circa 1974, that has improved my life, I am responsible for improving my life, not the government’s responsibility to improve my life. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure the U.S. Constitution is upheld and to spend tax dollars for the common good. None of that is currently happening. .


      1. that reference is pure political posturing at the time. You’re right Medicare is not socialized medicine, far from it. After all Medicare is perfectly acceptable to 50+ million Americans, me included. However, to say Biden does not support single payer ala Medicare is misleading simply because what he does support will by design lead to exactly that. You cannot give people a choice in healthcare without adverse consequences on one side or another. In this case the employer based coverage and private insurance will go away over several years. Then we have single payer.


      2. I did read your earlier comment where, if I’ve got it straight, you claim to have shown that a public option will inevitably lead to the loss of private insurance. I’m afraid that all made no sense to me.


      3. Well, look at it this way, if you want the lowest cost, if you have the need for medical care and your employer keeps raising your deductible, what would you do. If you are an employer and there was a way to attract workers without getting into the morass of healthcare what would you do? If government sets the reimbursement for health services as it does with Medicare 20% or more below market, private insurers cannot compete. Right now the low Medicare payments can be offset by non-Medicare payments. When that becomes less and less possible there will be consequences to the system and eventually to Medicare in the form of higher costs or reduced services. Don’t you think policy makers and politicians know this?


      4. “If government sets the reimbursement for health services as it does with Medicare 20% or more below market, private insurers cannot compete.”
        If government wants to drive private insurers out of the market, it can do so, with or without a private option. Or it can keep them in the market by setting prices appropriately high. You’ve just assumed a malevolent socialist government, not proven it. This is circular reasoning.


      5. I’m getting close to simply marking your comments as spam. You don’t want a factual discussion just to stir the waters. I assume nothing, I relate the facts of how Medicare works. The pricing strategy by Medicare is key to keeping it affordable (so-called). I didn’t say government wanted to do anything I said insurers could not compete because they could not negotiate fees as low as Medicare dictates for doctors and hospitals. And even more significant is the survival of health care providers as more of their patients are covered by Medicare and lower fees. On the other hand, Medicare may be forced to raise reimbursement levels thereby changing its cost structure. It is far more complicated that simply making it a public option.


      6. “… I said insurers could not compete because they could not negotiate fees as low as Medicare dictates …” The public option, as Biden describes it, does not need to use the Medicare fee structure.


      7. It does if it wants to be a lot less in pricing premiums and does not want to utilize all the spending controls insurers and self-funded plans use.


  4. But free education may improve job prospects even if nothing much is learned. To argue that the educational programs that can be offered for free don’t really educate is not really to the point if our goal is to help people get jobs, whether or not they know anything relevant.


  5. It is called the dumbing down of America. If you do not educate the next generation to a level of competency, you can pull the wool over their eyes. In what you pay them, how you treat them as workers, and what propaganda, you can get them to believe, without questioning. IE- Trump is the same as Hitler and all whites are racist. The schools in America are no longer houses of education, but have become indoctrination centers, to get this generation and the next generation, ready for total control buy the government. CRAZY COVID LAND 2020 fits right into their plan. Less than 2% of the world population has the infection, (MAYBE, if you believe that the tests are accurate), with 95%+ surviving and we are all supposed to take the new RNA type vaccine, that has never been used before, without questioning it. Once all of us old timers have died, their plan will be in full swing. In about 10 to 20 years, we can just change the name of our country to – The United Socialist States of America. Some say we can go ahead and change it now, because that is where we are headed.


  6. If college is truly a must as they say, then extend public schools to the 16th grade.
    One time people in this country were able to make it and be proficient with an 8th grade education. High schools had shop classes. Now students learn everything but the three Rs. If public education gets fixed, then college will be for those who truly need college for their field. Most personnel management is taught in churches for free. Treat others as you want to be treated. You don’t need a 4 year degree to be a retail manager with two employees and are told by corporate everything you must do.


    1. ” You don’t need a 4 year degree to be a retail manager with two employees and are told by corporate everything you must do.”
      But you do, if you won’t be hired as a retail manager without a 4 year degree. You may disagree with hiring criteria, but then it’s not really up to you, if this is the real world and not some conservative’s heaven.


      1. Please enlighten me on what a conservative heaven is and how an unreasonable hiring criteria fits into that heaven. Just trying to make the connection between the two and understand what this heaven is.


      2. I often see conservatives complain that job experience is undervalued in hiring, as compared with schooling. In Conservative Heaven, this will never happen. People will only be hired if they have demonstrated the capacity to do the job, which they can only do by having actually done something similar. Listening to lectures on 19th century English literature will no longer count to get a job as retail manager. We’ve got to be more tough-minded.
        ( I’m not a conservative, so correct me if this misrepresents that position.)


      3. greglee2014 thank you for your reply.

        I was unware that conservatives prefer experience over education. I am all for formal education and apprenticeships. I am in favor of continuing education in every field. But I do value actual experience and critical thinking over a piece of paper. Too many people think they know it all from a classroom.

        My entire working career involved thousands of hours of classroom instruction in (excess of 4000 hrs documented) followed by the OJT process. I always have had to proved what I learned in a classroom before I was set free to work under a supervisor. This was true when I was a printer, a fire fighter/EMT, and a nuclear reactor operator. Other than my days as printer, I was always formally tested annually. There is also a difference between someone who has 20 years of experience and someone who is repeating their first year of experience twenty times.

        So I guess hiring someone experienced over someone with no experience makes me a conservative? I thought I leaned more libertarian / capitalist myself, but I’ll accept that conservative label as long as it means anti-socialist / anti-liberal. I am willing to train anybody who wants to learn what I know so that they can get the experience they need. The fire service and the military taught me to train my replacement and to learn my superior’s job. Now a days it is the person who can check the most victim boxes who gets the job.

        See, you never stop learning. Today I learned a little about what a conservative’s heaven is.


      4. “So I guess hiring someone experienced over someone with no experience makes me a conservative?” Nobody doubts that we learn through experience. In my opinion, conservatives are distinguished by their denigrating any education that is not vocational. Everyone must do it your way; otherwise, their education has no real value.


    2. Dwayne G. – Given the choice, I would rather live in some conservative’s heaven, were the government stays out of my business, rather than a liberal’s heaven where the government controls it all, and everyone’s standard of living is way less than that of the government overlord’s. We are getting closer to the liberal heaven each and every day, and it sucks for the working man, who is trying to make his and his families life better. In days past it was called the American dream. Welcome to the liberal nightmare, that is coming with Biden / Harris. .


      1. You’re confusing “liberal” with “socialist”. Neither Biden nor liberals in general are socialists. Liberals believe that when people’s lot can be improved through government action that it is okay for government to act, even when it does not help the privileged. Socialists, on the other hand, hate private enterprise.

        Liked by 1 person

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