Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Community College Proposal: Weighing In

Despite my earlier reservations I am beginning to see not only the need, but the necessity behind the creation of a community college in the Treasure Valley.

As a student who was born and raised in Idaho, I had very little intention of staying in Idaho for my college career, but was pleasantly surprised by what Idaho State University had to offer me. However, it is evident to me now (four years after graduating from high school) that had I not been awarded numerous scholarships at ISU and offered many from other universities, I would not have had the opportunity to attend college in Idaho much less anywhere else.

My position is one shared by many in my age group throughout the state. They not only need to attend college to attain a degree that will ensure them a good paying job, many of them would really like to attend college. What? Kids actually want to go to school? Yes, some of us do and only a few of us can afford it on our own.

This is why my opinion has changed so drastically regarding the creation of a community college in the Treasure Valley. At first I was not convinced that the state could afford it. The state can't seem to afford the universities it already has an obligation to support. But, here's the key--communities can afford to support colleges and/or universities. I say this knowing that communities like Twin Falls have been ultra supportive of CSI and CSI draws business to Twin that may not have come otherwise. And the Treasure Valley can certainly afford it. They have nothing to lose with a community college and so much to lose without it.

As one of my fellow bloggers mentioned, Idaho's biggest export is its children. So true. Of the eighty some odd students I graduated from high school with I can name at most a dozen who are attending school in Idaho. The cost is a huge part of this as well as the realization that when we are all finished (I suppose I shouldn't lump myself in this category since there are few places I'll be able to teach Idaho History when I'm through with my college career) there will not be decent job opportunities for us here.

Though not a resident of Canyon or Ada county, I am a resident of Idaho who sincerely hopes that the state can turn this around and keep our promising young students here. I know first hand that many of the students I go to school with are the future leaders of this state. I've often thought about the kid sitting next to me in a class and whether he or she could go on to govern this state. And on the flip side I've often thought about the kid sitting next to me at a restaurant or on the bus and wished more than anything that Idaho had something to offer him because he would make a wonderful leader for Idaho.

For more information on the need for a community college in western Idaho and for voting information for the residents of Canyon and Ada county, please visit Community College Yes.


Julie in Boise said...

Tara, you make a good point about how CSI has helped draw businesses to Twin - specifically, Dell. I am not sure how much those Dell jobs pay these days, but I know it was at least a buck or two more an hour than other service industry jobs when they opened in the mid-late 1990s.

The Dell facility gave many people an opportunity to stay in Twin and earn a halfway reasonable wage (with prospects for advancement), and CSI was the linchpin in the whole deal.

Picasso Quick said...

I'm thrilled to see that bloggers have united in support of the community college. There is one blog, though, that hasn't gotten on board, and that's the Boise Guardian. Let's all go to that site and show our support on the various community college threads: www.boiseguardian.com

Community College YES!