Saturday, February 7, 2009

Olympia Talks College Education

Q13 News reported yesterday that three bills to establish a university in Snohomish county, plus a bill to grant bachelor degrees at Bellevue Community College (BCC), were being discussed in front of the State Senate Higher Education and Workforce committee. As reported, the challenge is not merely sorting out the competing bills, but to face the reality of the budget cuts when considering the cost of construction.

For you interested in the details of those hearings, you can view the committee sessions at TVW and the Senator Hobbs video at YouTube. Further details are available here, here and here. In particular, the second of those three articles seems the most damning. It is clear to me that the supporters of the the competing locations care nothing of education, demonstrating a greed for local construction spending that negates any attempt to appear pro-education. Both sides deserve to get nothing.

But I've ranted on that enough, haven't I? The BCC bill is more interesting as it offers a new model for expanding post-secondary education. Other lower/upper division models exist, including Lake Washington Technical College's Applied Bachelor's in Design and CWU BAS-ITAM. (See background on the proposals and the conflict with the UW here, here and here.) The proposed model for BCC isn't without it's concerns. Community colleges serve a huge range of educational needs. The Eastside won't benefit if BCC promotes the 4-year degree at the expense of their Adult ed, Prof/Tech and worker retraining roles.

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