President Barack Obama was exactly right in his State of the Union speech to mention the need for college graduates as part of his prescription for more American jobs. While there are more job seekers than jobs in our struggling economy, many employers are hiring but are having a hard time finding the college graduates they need to fill today's high-technology -- and high-paying -- jobs.
The trouble is, he didn't give the need for college graduates much more than a mention. "Most young people," he said, "will need some higher education." Most young people? Some higher education?
He acknowledged that "skyrocketing costs price way too many young people out of a higher education or saddle them with unsustainable debt." But he proposed no new aid, just conditioning federal aid to colleges on their affordability and introducing a college scorecard to help parents and students get value for their education dollars.
In fact, his treatment of the need for more college graduates was, if anything, less specific and less ambitious than in his first address to Congress four years ago. "We will provide," he pledged then, "the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."
Four years later, as President Obama starts his second term as president, the country needs not just a mention of the need for more college graduates but also a comprehensive strategy for producing those college graduates -- the kind of strategy that the administration has designed and executed for the education that comes before college. And that strategy has to start with making college affordable for low-income African Americans and other students of color.
Source: The Root | Michael Lomax