Long ago, someone asked, and I looked into why college was now so expensive. The answer turned out to be, less state and federal funding. Now, state funding is back in Iowa in the form of Future Ready Iowa. Local colleges have been making adjustments because what this program does is fund only certain majors that the governor and local industries want.
On paper it sounds kind of good.
Future Ready Iowa is a powerful tool for growing family incomes, meeting employers’ needs, and strengthening our communities,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The Future Ready Iowa Act will ensure Iowans have the skills they need to succeed in a world driven by technological disruption – both now and in the future.”
However, take a look at what the government will fund in my neck of the corn field:
It’s very similar to to other colleges’ lists. Some have physical education teaching and nursing funded but the lists are nearly the same anywhere you go.
What’s missing I ask? Take a moment to think about it.
Here’s another part of it:
The local college is responding: A local Jesus-based consignment store has also gotten money for training people.
What could be wrong with this?
As an educator I can tell you this: it’s not flexible enough. There is nothing more miserable than a student who is forced into a certain major and learns they want something different–but no one will pay for it because it is “impractical.” I have seen kids on the science track because it is the only education their parents will pay for.
Where are the arts in this state educational dictatorship? They are relegated to being occupation based, for example, an art-teacher is supported. I’m from a family of teachers. There is nothing wrong with teaching. Most of the time, it’s fun and rewarding. However, it does lock you into a certain middle-class not-great health insurance maybe I need a side hustle status which is nearly impossible to break out of.
But can you imagine having been forced into being something medical or teaching because it was the only way to afford college? This practical approach pretty much ensures that careers in the arts, pure sciences, journalism, English, and even religion are only open to kids with money. Rich people will be writing the news, giving the sermons, and singing the songs. The rest of us will be handing out pills, teaching in maskless classrooms, and other government determined career paths. It’s very much like the choice of roads in Charlotte.
Why do I feel so passionately about this? My grandfather was in the heating and air-conditioning business. His fortunes rose and fell with the company, which had trouble adapting from coal furnaces to gas and to air conditioning. He made sure all his kids got an education and learned how to think and be flexible. My granny was a lovely, sweet woman. But she believed a lot of what she read in The National Enquirer. She also wanted her kids not simply trained but educated, because it was something she never had. Guess what. My mom never read The National Enquirer.
Scholarships are good things, but we have entered into a dark place where training is paid for but being educated is a luxury. And will schools respond by cutting programs because of lack of majors, until, in the end, all we have is job training and not much beauty or deep-thinking? Yes, I’m sure this will happen. Perhaps it already has.