by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Rob Jenkins devotes a Martin Center column to community college’s appeal for conservative families.
[W]hat’s a conservative parent to do?
One option, of course, is a religious school, where besides receiving (in most cases) a fine education, young people can live and study in a relatively safe and sheltered environment. But those institutions are often extremely expensive and the fact of the matter is, once kids get away from home, all bets are off. Students at religious colleges are hardly immune to drug and alcohol abuse or dangerous sexual situations.
But there’s another possible solution, one that many conservative parents, especially in affluent areas, might not have considered: keeping their kids home for another year or two and having them attend the local community college.
This option offers many advantages, but affluent, well-educated parents often dismiss community colleges because of the stereotypes that have been perpetuated in the media—of community college students as low-performing losers and of the colleges themselves as (slightly) glorified high schools.
There’s also the prestige factor: When the neighbors’ kids are headed off to Big State U., with its leafy campus, 30,000-student body, award-winning faculty, and ranked football team, no parent wants to admit that their child will be attending Local CC.
Those stereotypes shouldn’t be determinative. It is certainly true that community colleges typically cater to underserved student populations, including those who wouldn’t be accepted, academically, into a university. Yet it’s also true that good students abound on today’s community college campuses. Many two-year schools have thriving honors programs, serving students who would easily get into a top-tier university.