I am currently writing a book about the year, 1953, and thus encounter stories from that time period. I was reading the autobiography of Jack Welch who grew up to become the CEO of General Electric. Mr. Welch came from a poor family and attended the University of Massachusetts. He paid FITY DOLLARS FOR ALL COURSES EACH SEMESTER. His total cost for a college education, including room and board was ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. I attended City College of New York where my total cost for the entire four years was ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS since I lived at home. The point that most intrigues me is the attitude of the children and grandchildren of Jack Welch. I bet most of them oppose free education for poor people since it would cost them higher income tax. The lives they live today of wealth and security came because Jack Welch got a “free ride” in his education. Of course it was not a “free ride,” it was simply recognition by society that if youth are able to obtain higher education, the entire society winds up benefiting with them paying more in taxes.
So, what has happened to the traditional American belief that all children are entitled to a free education? CCNY was founded in 1848 and continued the concept of free education until the 1960s. Free college education always worked for the benefit of American society and it will work today. Unfortunately, those whose parents got the free education no longer believe in the concept. I wonder why?
P.S. Free college education most benefited the new poor immigrants.