Growing up my family had very little money. My mother had two children, held a full time job and depended on public assistance programs just to make ends meet. At the age of fourteen I applied for my workers permit and began my life of employment. By eighteen I was working three jobs to afford things that I needed and to assist my family. I knew that I was not internally driven enough to receive scholarships and would not be able to make enough money to afford college on my own. I also believed that I should never accept a handout unless I was willing to earn it or pay it back. I made the decision to join the military for five years so that I could receive the Montgomery GI Bill which pays college tuition as a benefit for serving your country. They also have great programs that pay college tuition while you are serving on active duty to be able to earn your degree while you serve. The great thing about the military is that while you are receiving all of these benefits you are also being employed, earning a paycheck, free healthcare for you and your family, free housing and a stipend for food. All of these things are monetary issues that plague families across the country.
I am not trying to sell the military to anyone, nor am I trying to make anyone else’s life sound better or worse. I am trying to say that there are many other paths to go to college without expecting the government to give you a free handout. The path that I took is one of many that a person can take to go to college. I feel that we are beginning to live in a society where the public feels entitled to assistance from the government, which is funded by people who actually pay their taxes, for programs that they themselves can achieve if they work hard or are willing to sacrifice for. I believe in programs that offer assistance but not handouts or programs that are luxuries not necessities.
The program that President Obama proposed in his State of the Union Address, offering two years of Community College to everyone, would cost at a minimum 80 million dollars of Federal and State funding over ten years. Where would the money come from you ask, from tax payers pockets. Everyday people that are they themselves struggling to keep their heads above the water financially, will be paying for this program through the taxes the government collects every year. Instead of spending the money on a new program how about improving an existing issue riddled program, our primary and secondary education systems. Why not spend the money on improving the quality of education, the learning environments and the underpaid and overworked lives of the teachers that give their heart and soul to teach their students the building blocks of education that will assist them throughout the rest of their lives. Many of the classrooms in public schools are overcrowded, affecting the quality of education and attention that the students receive. Due to budget cuts many teachers need to pay out of their own pocket or request additional supplies from students that are needed in the classrooms. There are continuous news reports across the United States on unhealthy and deplorable learning environments in run down public schools that children have to attend.
College is not for everyone. Many would attend because it is “free” that would benefit more by attending vocational training, on the job training programs or internships. Going to college would delay the individual in getting their foot in the door and learning valuable skills for jobs that do not require degrees. We have a high dropout rate of students that pay for colleges now in their first two years. If young adults feel no obligation or responsibility to attend because it is free or drop out, the hard earned taxpayer’s money would yet again be wasted.
The free two year community college program is a waste of taxpayer’s money. It creates more issues than it fixes, doesn’t fix existing public educational issues, reinforces entitlement behaviors and can be very detrimental to those that would be better suited for other career paths than college. The government should spend their time trying to fix the broken public programs we have now instead of forcing new ones on hard working Americans.