The Express Editorial Board
Last year, hope was kindled for high school and college students alike, and his name was Bernie Sanders. The promise of free college was a dream that we dreamt of earnestly. It was a dream that in the end died as our system brought a different choice for us to vote for, and for most of us, that was a blow to our confidence in the system we lived under.
Soon, it was common to hear some of the older folk dissing Bernie Sanders saying that kids liked his ideas until they got their first paycheck and saw how much tax they had to pay. Honestly, it was easy to see their point. Free college would take a lot of money to run, and most people say they do not like taxes. Well, more accurately when people say they don’t like taxes, it’s often because they don’t get anything for their money.
This is why when we students read “We the people” it didn’t feel like they were talking about us, it felt more like “We the people who are rich” and we were excluded from that version of America. If college were free, then perhaps there would be a slightly more level playing field for us all to participate on.
While most people agree that free college would be nice, it has been marked as an impractical dream. However, on Feb. 7, 2017 the unrealistic became a beautiful reality as the Community College of San Francisco announced it would become free to all students who lived in the city or were city workers for San Francisco. So for those opposing free college we ask one question: If free college really is so impossibly unrealistic, how in the world can it actually already exist?
Here at Las Positas College, despite how much taxpayer money is already subsidizing the student education it remains nearly impossible for most aspiring students to even afford the costs of classes at community colleges. In today’s world, having a weekend job isn’t enough to cover the costs of just the books needed, even while saving money by living out of the basement of a relative and eating Top Ramen for every meal. So if college is prohibitively expensive for our most disenfranchised, how can we say we live in a land where all men are created equal when some of our brightest and best can’t even afford a shot at a better life?
If we are to resolve this issue and make America a truly great land, we need to make some changes. We need to make it easier to succeed for all of us equally, no matter someone’s background from or socioeconomic status. If we want to make a great country, we need a great plan. So what should we do? How can we make this world a better place?
Here we can only come to one solution that will help everyone equally. The answer is simple, and it’s the same answer that CCSF came to. We need to do away with this pay-to-play system and make college, once and for all, free to any student who wants to forge a better life for themselves and their family.