My colleague and friend Bill Warford’s recent column about the value of community colleges was a classic that should be shared with every high school student in this region.
Bill made the important point that today’s community colleges, especially in California, offer a valuable way to earn a degree at less cost and with the same outcome as going straight to a four-year college or university.
With the cost of education spiraling every year along with the additional expense of living away from home, community colleges are an excellent way to begin a higher education experience.
I attended Antelope Valley College, San Jose City College and, when I was in the Army at Ft. Ord, Monterey Peninsula College, all while working full-time.
A major benefit of living in East Kern is that we can choose between Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest or Antelope Valley College in Lancaster.
Cerro Coso, a campus of the Kern Community College District, offers courses in several area communities, in addition to its Ridgecrest campus, and through its extensive online presence.
Cal State chancellor agrees
When the then-chancellor of the California State University system attended an Edwards Community Alliance/East Kern Educational Resource Alliance meeting in Mojave several years ago when we were trying to attract a state college to this region, he told us that the new paradigm is to encourage students to attend community colleges and to complete their education at a four-year college.
High school students in the Mojave Unified School District have been taking classes for several years through dual enrollment with Cerro Coso Community College at Mojave High School and California City High.
Susan Clipperton, who manages career technical education for the Mojave district said: “We have two students at Mojave Junior/Senior High School who are nearly finished with their Associate in Arts degrees, and six to eight at California City High. All for free.”
One of these students is listed in the 2019 Antelope Valley Press Future Leaders edition.
“We have a history of our high school graduates going directly to four year universities where they earn their bachelors degree in two years.” Clipperton said.
Similar arrangements are underway in many other communities.
The state university chancellor also said online education is becoming a vital and convenient way to learn.
Parents bribing scandal
This information is especially encouraging for students and parents at a time when wealthy parents are being jailed for buying (or bribing). their kids into prestigious colleges and universities.
The big difference between local students and those whose parents bought their way into schools is that our kids will be prepared to succeed because they have worked to be accepted the right way.
My brother Mike worked summers at a Mojave burger joint and at the print shop (Reproduction Branch) at nearby Edwards Air Force Base to earn his way through San Jose State College. He later served in the Air Force Reserve.
He also helped my mother with the flower shop she operated on Sierra Highway.
My sister Susan earned her degree through college courses in evenings and on weekends while working full time and raising three bright kids and successful kids.
That’s the way many people finance their education and it is great preparation for living and working in the real world.
Unlike some of our current “leaders,” my employment when I was attending college was working full time in the public safety services and serving in the military rather than selling pot or avoiding the military draft by paying off doctors.
While I encourage everyone to go to college or university, lots of folks have been successful without that experience.
Discussing the current scandal, billionaire Warren Buffett noted that of all the CEOs he’s met during his long career he could not tell any difference between those who attended “prestigious” or other schools.
My parents taught my brother and sister and me that education is learning how to learn throughout life, which begins with making reading a lifetime experience and pastime.
It is also vital to have an open mind by gathering information about all sides of issues and making up your own mind, rather than blindly following someone else’s lead or a party line.
I wonder how many middle class kids could have been educated with the money wealthy parents have spent just to get their kids into a prestigious college.
By the way, back in the 1920s my mother earned a journalism degree at Stanford and my dad attended Occidental College.
Mom’s parents were a school principal and a railroad foreman and my Dad was raised by his widowed mother who worked in her father’s Orange Cove general store.
They would be horrified to learn of what has just been uncovered — through dogged reporting by dedicated and talented journalists, by the way. The same kind of reporters our president, who apparently didn’t study the U.S. Constitution when he was in college, wants the government to silence.
One last thought on this issue — it might be nice if it didn’t cost a small fortune to earn a college or university degree in this country.
Speaking of the cost of learning, Mojave Chamber of Commerce board members recently heard an interesting report from Linda Kirkland of the Community Action Partnership of Kern, which administers services to families and children in this county, services which include helping families to learn how to manage their finances.
The finance program “walks them through goal-setting, how to make payments on time, and from opening a checking account to buying a house or car,” Kirkland said.
Participants receive a bag filled with easy-to-understand publications covering all aspects of personal finance including the benefits and problems involved in using credit cards
Kirkland is teaching the program to students in Mojave Unified’s continuation school.
“The kids are really enjoying it,” she said.
The program is primarily aimed at the students’ parents whom Kirkland hopes to get involved and she also plans to work with students at Mojave Junior-Senior. High School.