Secretary of Education King Talks College Affordability in Cleveland

Congressperson Marcia Fudge speaking at a 2014 event. [photo: Nick Castele/ ideastream]
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by Mark Urycki

The U.S. Secretary of Education visited Cleveland Friday to highlight successes at Cuyahoga Community College. He has high hopes for President Obama’s proposal to offer free tuition at community colleges, but not everyone is so optimistic.

One student at TRI-C sold his car to pay for a welding program that enabled him to get an internship building tug boats in Cleveland.  He’s now hired in full time. That’s the kind of school-to-work investment that Education Secretary John King hopes to see.   But he says our priorities are wrong when states’ spending is going up faster for prisons than for schools.

“Where we see dollars being invested in punishment rather than in prevention.  If we invest in education, we will put students on a path to quality employment and a quality of life that we would want for them,” says King.

King hopes Congress will approve the president’s America’s College Promise proposal to make community college free. Cleveland congresswoman Marcia Fudge stood next to King and rolled her eyes and said “don’t hold your breath.”  Fudge says the rich don’t care about the cost of education.

“They have set themselves apart by being able to afford a better education.  That is why this is not going to change - because they are willing to spend $20,000 for the first grade or second grade.  So they want to send their kids that most other people can’t afford to send their kids to go to,” says Fudge.

Fudge is the ranking member of the House Education Committee. 

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