Summary Of Support Our Student By David Brooks

685 Words3 Pages
David Brooks’ “Support Our Students” is an essay on the problem of low retention rates in higher education that I really wanted to support. As a community college student, it has been easy to see first-hand many of the problems Brooks has mentioned, from the need for childcare to the exhorbitant cost of textbooks. However, the essay, and idea, have two fatal flaws that lend it to reading more like a timed in-class essay for a community college final than as a legitimate critique of President Obama’s proposal to make community college tuition free. The critique ignores the very real problem of enrollment; that’s flaw one. Flaw two, Brooks’ own solutions are vague, unsupported, and lacking any kind of concrete evidence or sources. Combined, both…show more content…
While other parts of this critique may be legitimate, it completely writes off the very real problem of declining enrollment at community colleges. In his closing statements Brooks compares two versions of human capitol policies, one designed to help give people access to education, and one designed to help people thrive in education. In writing off the former version, he completely ignores the problem of access. Community members do not have, or more importantly, do not feel that they have the most basic access to higher education. The president’s community college tuition proposal is aimed at making this access available to all. Those without access cannot even consider thriving.
Brooks’ himself alludes to how effective the label of “free” is, (P5) but underestimates how important the psychological effect can be on downtrodden students who were raised in the midst of a recession.
Ignoring the problem of access, Brooks outlines some very important problems within the community college system; Remedial education, childcare, and living expenses are all
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In discussing remedial education, he provides an uncited statistic on students, followed by a vague claim on efficacy, and no solution on how to fix remediation at all. (P 12) It is difficult to support his assertions when they are made in this manner. It is a shame that all these assertions are made so terribly, because they had the potential to highlight a necessary concern. Aside from these other problems, tuition, really is only a fraction of the cost. Brooks discusses living expenses briefly (P 10), but doesn’t give this issue the gravity it deserves. In my experience, fee waivers and textbook subsidies are already available to many students. The costs are in housing, food, and transportation. Most students taking on jobs aren’t doing so just to cover tuition, they are doing so to provide themselves with basic necessities like food, water, and shelter. Then there is the opportunity cost of attending college. Units can be completely free, but it doesn’t change the fact that they hours spent in class could be spent making money to provide for themselves. Yes, college is a great investment
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