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.

Learning how

to learn

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.

Learning finance

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.

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