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March 01, 2021


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Yikes! There is much more content to this post than I can absorb. Help me out fellow readers.

I'm tired of still hearing ASU jokes after years of Michael Crow improvements. My son's tuition at ASU during the "critical years" nearly doubled.
I'm surprised to read an article on this subject without a mention of the Arizona Constitution and the "as nearly free as possible" clause regarding education. Once again our forefathers demonstrated better common sense than the modern Legislature.

Community colleges serve a vital need these days - Remedial education for below average high school programs. The entire system has regressed by two years. Four year degrees are rapidly becoming valueless for job hunting unless very judiciously selected. A community college four year degree would only exacerbate this trend.

Excellent column!

Republicans gained a majority hold on a bunch of state houses last November. I suspect we will witness similar degradation of 4-year diplomas and (or) wholesale reductions in education spending across the country. Also, at least here in cornland, the legislature is seeking to divert tax dollars to parents who want to send their kids to private (most of them religious) schools.

The Maricopa community colleges should continue to do what they do well. They do not need to be burdened with the task of creating viable four-year programs. The soaring tuition at ASU, U of A, and NAU needs to be addressed in other ways. Greater state support would help immensely.

There's a lot more to the Maricopa colleges than "remedial education for below average high school programs," though that is certainly a part of what they do. The poor preparation of American high schoolers transcends "below average high school programs." It can be seen in the students headed for state universities and public (and private) ivies from above-average high schools. (The dumbing down of American secondary and tertiary education is grist for another column and hundreds of comments. Suffice it to say that an ivy-covered credential is no guarantee that its owner is well educated.)

The Maricopa colleges serve adults returning to school to upgrade their knowledge and skills. Many of these are parents in their 30s or even older. Some of the colleges offer extensive training and certification in trades such as HVAC, electrical work, general construction, plumbing, and automotive technology. Some of the colleges partner with four-year schools to offer the BS in nursing degree. Students at GateWay Community College, for example, can earn a BS in nursing from NAU entirely from the GateWay campus at 40th and Washington. The Maricopa colleges wear many educational hats. Having to move to offering and supporting four-year degrees would only distract and dilute.

Let the community colleges continue to do what they do well.

I personally experienced two years of Phoenix College and two years of undergraduate studies at ASU. I eventually accumulated 100 hours of Graduate level at ASU leading to a 30 year career in elementary school education.
I have always believed that my classes at PC were superior to the ones at ASU in many ways.
I agree with Joe that the technical training is very important. A university education is not necessary for a quality life.
A good plumber or auto mechanic earns way more money that an e3ducator and never has to deal with a parent.

This is one of those areas (there are many) where I don't have the slightest idea as to what is the ideal public policy. I have BA and JD degrees from private schools outside Arizona. I did take a couple of courses at Arizona community colleges quite a number of years ago, and I thought they were ok. Not great, but ok; however, considering the very low cost at the time, they were worthwhile from a cost/benefit standpoint. I would want to have comprehensive reports from experts in education and labor force development before considering what the appropriate policies should be with respect to Community Colleges in Arizona. This should not be a political issue, but of course it will be one like everything in our current political environment.

I have a fair amount of experience with community colleges in smaller counties, although I'm certainly not an expert. I'm a fan. My impression is that they do a good job of equipping young people with the knowledge and skills needed in the economies of those areas. They also prepare people who will eventually move to one of the four-year colleges to get a degree. I have some concerns that putting them in the business of granting four-year degrees will take them away from what they do well. There is a shortage of four-year institutions in this state but, whatever the right solution is, I don't think it consists of transforming good community colleges into second-rate universities.

Well said, El Kabong.

When Florida made this proposal my employment was operating a C.C. mailroom. Logic presented stated this change would allow the disadvantaged, budget strapped students to remain at home (few settings offer dorms) and continue taking classes.

Remaining in familiar surroundings was key in lowering educational expenses.
Only a small amount of specific degrees were offered and financial assistance was usually available. Those serious in this approach to be a knowledge worker benefited all.

Its hard for me to get intellectualy involved in this discussion as i graduated last in my HS class. And only because they let me take summer classes at Phoenix Union HS.
But from my place at the Arizona campfires for 70 plus years it seems that the problem is old people, god peoples and profiteers. A guy up on the Arizona/Utah border said he didnt think there was a need for kids to go to school after they turned 15.

Speaking of campfires you all might want to check on this. Here in the east valley, campfires tended by winter visitors and folks scared of brown people and "god" fearing folks; as the Steaks cook and the booze flows the talk is Democrats will lose the Presidency, the Senate and the House for two reasons, Immigration and gas prices.

There is value in being self-educated. You established skills that require large amounts of specific information. Ability to observe, act efficiently and effectively led to an honorable profession in public service.

Fundamentals as this command respect. Modern life in the computer age affords instant as international communication. Your comments to 'the board' are proof that the Valley education system set the roots for you to become a well rounded and likeable desert dweller (you run circles around me in you time-in-life experiences).

Always look forward to your contributions. Keep on keeping on.

Dave Parish

Thanks Dave. I appreciate your comments.
but in my education,
I did hurt my shoulder "diving"
not jumping off the top of the
second bridge at Canyon Lake.

The Tucson Arizona Daily Star article in this blogs Phoenix and Arizona section describes how religion and profit are winning the war on Public Schools.
The return of unmarried females teaching for bread crumb wages?
I went to a one room school house with a horse barn and TWO outhouses. I watched the teacher drag my mentally challenged (blue baby) brother by the hair around the room. Today its a community center. No horse barn. One outhouse.

How about a four year degree in Repair? Including in one program, appliance repair, automotive repair, computer repair and the proper method for stringing barb wire and how to put Eldon Musk’s space ship back together.
For some strange reason at 26 I thought I needed to take a college class. Self-employed I had time for daytime classes. I hit it right off in Phil Smelser’s Philosophy class at Phoenix College and enjoyably raced thru English Lit once I got passed the English dumbbell class. 29 women threatened to throw me off the PC balcony during a period in a psychology class after I got an A on a paper titled “Childbirth is Unnatural.” Only 2 men in that class. Somewhere along the line I took a writing/art class from a Nun at Glendale Community class. It was a kick. Years later I had enough hours that I mailed the college $10 and they sent me a diploma for a 2 year general subject’s degree. It had become a requirement to be a police Sergeant.
I enjoyed PC, My philosophy class included a goateed Marxist, a redheaded very tall female Republican, a communist (that lived in Paradise Valley) and me. After class we would adjourn to the Wineburger (owned by a WHS classmate) at 19th Avenue and Bethany Home road, where we mixed poetry with politics and wine. Somewhere I have a poetry penciled napkin.
Junior college was the first time in 26 years that I enjoyed going to school.
I have thought deeply about this and believe we should send the four year (4) Junior college degree to the deep six.

I forgot we don't repair
we are the throw away people.

Just because the classrooms are temporarily empty doesn’t mean you quit leaning. Great educational experiences await those willing to go forth in search of meaning.
I feel I shouldn’t leave you with some type of ending. If endings really exists.
So I heard the Marxist went on to become a union leader (as did I). I suspect he lives within walking distance of PC. I lost track of the tall redheaded Republican. I think she had aspirations to be governor. The communist from Paradise Valley took her on life at a very early age. So here at 80 I rest against a giant Sajuaro in the Great Sonoran Desert. I have seen things many can only imagine. Star lite skies, that recognize no lines in the sand, shimmer off the vast plains of the Sonoran Gate.
Soon “all these moments will be lost in time,” like sand in the wind.

Star-lit skies. Those were the days. As a kid I lay on a warm concrete tennis court in the middle of Kansas, looking at the stars. The Milky Way stretched from NE to SW. Now when I look up on a rare cloudless evening, I can barely make out Orion; the North Star is not to be seen. Haven't decided yet whether it's climate change adding haze to the atmosphere, or advancing years taking its toll.

Right after we arrived in Phoenix in 1963, my son, Fred, and I both enrolled at Phoenix College. The price tag was $19 a semester for all the courses you wanted. Even though I worked full time, I enjoyed a lot of writing and photography courses. My memory could have bugs but I seem to remember a Jon Talton in one of the photo classes. Fast forward to 2014 and I actually graduated at the age of 88, taking the last needed class online. I did it just to prove to the great grandchildren that I could.
-----My vote goes to keep the Community Colleges at two years rather than four. My reasoning: Better to be a big frog in a small pond instead of flopping around in a big one.
----Here’s a plug for smile.Amazon. If you buy through this site on Amazon, five percent goes to the charity of your choice. Last quarter Maricopa County Community College District Foundation received $137.31 for student help which included my five percent.
----Another plug: When I lost my son three years ago, we set up an endowed fund at Glendale Community College where he did his last years of teaching. Every year two students receive a small scholarship to help with their tuition. The address is https://mcccdf.org/Cheshire - And if you do make a tax deductible donation and end it in 22 cents (for this birthday) I’ll know you read my message.
-----Fred’s biography is at http://amzn.to/2Kd6d9u

Nice post Mariam.

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