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That suggests an annual cost in the tens of billions of dollars. The White House said the federal government would pick up 75 percent of the cost and the final quarter would come from states that opt into the program.
WASHINGTON – President Obama on Thursday proposed making community college free for all Americans who are "willing to work for it," though the administration has not revealed the price tag or how exactly it would be paid for.
In a video posted on Facebook, the president previewed his plan, which will be formally announced during a trip to Tennessee Friday. The president said he wants to provide free community college for two years, by covering enough tuition to get students who keep their grades up an associate's degree or halfway to a bachelor's.
"It's not for kids," Obama said. "We also have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits."
On a conference call with reporters, however, administration officials were vague on the details.
They said the funding details would come out later with the president's budget. They estimated 9 million students could participate and save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.
originally posted by: narin
I'm from Canada and kind of ashamed that we're the only Scandinavian country that does not yet offer free post-secondary education in the 21st Century. If America does this before us, I'm gonna implode.
reply to: AutumnWitch657
How can you say this won't help people?
originally posted by: narin
No, correction, this won't help the rich people. God forbid a Republican should ever approve of free Education.
Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity.
Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.
In fact, since academic excellence wasn't a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland's students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland -- unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway -- was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.
That this point is almost always ignored or brushed aside in the U.S. seems especially poignant at the moment, after the financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street movement have brought the problems of inequality in America into such sharp focus. The chasm between those who can afford $35,000 in tuition per child per year -- or even just the price of a house in a good public school district -- and the other "99 percent" is painfully plain to see.
The problem facing education in America isn't the ethnic diversity of the population but the economic inequality of society, and this is precisely the problem that Finnish education reform addressed. More equity at home might just be what America needs to be more competitive abroad.