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Michael Medved


Jenny Durkan thinks rich, dumb criminals should get free college

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

File this one under wildly irresponsible. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is moving forward with her plan to offer free community college to Seattle high school graduates.

In theory, it’s a good idea. Education is important and sets you up for a more successful life. But Jenny Durkan’s plan is an embarrassment.

As detailed in The Seattle Times, the plan “… will not have an income or GPA cutoff … or exclude students who have gotten into legal trouble.” It further says illegal immigrants are eligible.

So, in other words, an illegal immigrant with a criminal background and a 1.9 GPA would get taxpayer money to go to a community college. Or, even more silly, a dumb kid with a criminal background who happens to come from an uber-wealthy family gets the perk of free community college.

Why wouldn’t we put an income cutoff for free college? Theoretically, rich kids are less likely to enroll in their local community college. So why not say if your family is in the 1 percent, you’re not eligible for free tuition? To virtue signal your love of education?

Why are we treating a student with a 1.0 GPA the same way as a low-income student who earned her 3.0 GPA and is choosing a community college rather than an expensive private school? Hey, kids, work hard in high school so we can pretend you’re as worthy as the kid who barely showed up to class and didn’t even do some of the bare minimum requirements. What a wonderful message it sends when we pretend everyone should be rewarded the same, regardless of effort.

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What sense does this make? I’ll argue about the appropriateness of taxes going to “free” education — it cuts down on the value of education and sets up a system where kids can lazily make their way into government subsidies — but at least that part can be subjective. But to offer up free colleges with virtually no standards? That’s just a bad use of tax dollars when, we’re told, we’re in the middle of how many different underfunded crises?

And Jenny Durkan is able to get away with this “progressive” plan because she notably cowers from those who don’t share her ideology. She can never be directly questioned, forcing reporters to push out her selected sound bites and press releases.

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