Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tennessee Reconnect

Pushing for adults to be able to attend community college for free. I've heard little opposition to it. From WJHL.com.

A Republican governor from a deep red Southern state has emerged as an unlikely leader of the free tuition movement, winning converts across party lines by emphasizing the need for a better-trained workforce.
Now Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is pushing his state to become the first to make community college free to almost every adult. 
Liberals and conservatives remain divided about how much taxpayer money should go toward ensuring more people graduate college. But a critical shortage of skilled, qualified workers is building rare bipartisan consensus that government needs to push harder to educate today’s workforce.
“The free college movement has gained support from the left and the right, albeit for different reasons,” said Thomas Harnisch, director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Liberals see free college as a social justice matter that benefits low-income students, he said, while conservatives see it as a way to bolster the workforce without significant spending.
Tennessee made history three years ago when Haslam pushed the passage of an education bill offering free community college to new high school graduates, a first in the country. That same legislation made state technical schools free to all residents, no matter how long ago they graduated. 
Former President Barack Obama’s attempt to pass a similar federal program was a non-starter with Republicans in Congress, but several states followed with their own variations and more are considering them. 
Haslam now wants an expansion – one that would make Tennessee the first state to offer free community college to nearly all adults without a post-secondary degree or certificate. The proposal still has to pass the state’s Republican-dominated legislature, but the House and Senate speakers have said the measure is expected to sail through.

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