Phyllis Barrett, Holyoke Community College, in her own words...

Community college students keep teachers honest. They usually have no intellectual pretense and are simply curious about what a teacher is up to in a given class. They also tend to be brave enough to ask impolite and important questions.

The variety of skill levels, motivation, maturity, and socialization in a typical class presents challenges but also keeps the instructor from getting lazy and formulaic. Every class is a new ballgame.

I gave up a tenure-track position at a private four-year college when I had a chance to go back to community college teaching. I felt the community college students needed me more--and gave me more.

Community colleges are the seed bed for the American dream. If there is upward mobility in this country, education is the fuel. Community college students deserve all the options--not just vocational training but liberal arts transfer curricula as well. Working class kids should be able to become professionals, and thanks to a start at the community college they often do.

Community college students have amazingly complicated lives: sick kids, undependable cars, too many low-paying jobs, etc. More amazing is the fact that often those with the most impossible situations are the ones who persevere to the degree. These students are inspiring.

The Dream Denied

Next time you’re driving by your local high school when school lets out, look at all those faces -- full of hope.

Most of them are going on to college. But many -- too many -- are not.

Because the Governor’s new budget is putting their one chance of a college education -- at a quality, affordable, community college, state college or university -- out of reach.

The cuts to public higher education are devastating: hundreds of millions in state funding lost, tuitions hiked, full time faculty reduced, courses cancelled, library budgets slashed.

As a skilled businessman, our Governor should know better.

Massachusetts businesses depend on an educated workforce. College grads earn more money, pay more taxes, and help balance budgets, including his budget.

It’s time to tell our political leaders to raise the revenues needed to stop the devastation of quality public higher education in Massachusetts, because making a college education unaffordable is not only bad economics --

It’s the American Dream -- denied.

A radio message from the
Massachusetts Teachers Association