Free Education

While public attention is focused on the upcoming horror show that is the Donald Trump presidency, and many of my fellow Berniecrats are bothered that the Clintons, showing that they have less of a political conscience than the Rockettes, will be attending the inauguration, Bernie Sanders has persuaded the state of New York to go ahead and give free public universities a try.
This is amazing news. Although we still don’t have legal marijuana on the federal level, the examples of Colorado and Washington were enough that now it is legal in several states, and California is one of them. I expect the same thing will happen with free universities.
Of course, there are differences. For one, although free public education produces a better educated work force, state lines are very fluid and New York may not get the full benefit of their expense if other states don’t follow suit.
It makes me think of my time at Brooklyn College, though. This was back in the 70s, and at the time it was free for New York residents. It was a simpler time, and much easier to alter the date on a driver’s license – they were not even laminated. Anybody with an eraser, a steady hand, and a bit of patience could change the date and pretend to have been a New York resident for over a year, when in fact I’d been there about a month.
I went there for about a year or so, studied creative writing, languages and linguistics, and a couple of other things. Then they started charging, and I decided to do a bit more traveling.
That’s been the story of my ‘college’ career. The semester in Paris was a token charge, the course was heavily subsidized by the French government, which approved of foreigners learning the language and a bit about their culture, and I’m grateful for that. I don’t use it much any more, but Sam is studying French in school and I’m able to help him a bit.
In California, Junior College was free, or at least very affordable, to tell you the truth I don’t remember, but I remember my journalism classes, and my only computer class ever, and an astronomy class that mostly taught me that astronomy was way too difficult for me but, you know, respect.
But, what is happening in New York now is at 4 year universities, it really means a lot and I’m sure will have a huge impact on a lot of people’s lives.
Good job, Bernie!


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