Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Bates Technical College

Oct.
27th

Two-year colleges: Stimulus tool No. 1 for higher employment

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

There are two explanations for last year’s 6 percent drop in community college enrollment.

One is worth a party. According to the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, more Washingtonians are finding jobs and drifting away from school.

The other is disturbing. Marty Brown, executive director of the board, says that rising costs are likely scaring off would-be students.

That’s pretty much self-evident, given that tuition has risen by 12 percent each of the last two years. It now costs $4,000 a year to attend a community college – about what it cost to attend the University of Washington 10 years ago.

The Legislature has been busily dismantling Washington’s public colleges and universities since the Great Recession hit. As in past recessions, lawmakers have treated the higher education system as a piggy bank – something to break and raid to spare other state services. They’ve reduced appropriations to colleges by an estimated $1.4 billion since 2009.

Yes, higher education must suffer its share of cutbacks when money gets scarce. But few if any states have cannibalized their colleges the way Washington has; the Legislature has cut direct funding to its universities by as much as half, to its community colleges by roughly a quarter.
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Feb.
14th

Two-year colleges on the front lines of economic recovery

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Tacoma Community College President Pamela Transue doesn’t mince words when she talks about how budget cuts are hurting her school and Washington’s other two-year institutions.

“We’re watching the destruction of the educational system in our state,” she told The News Tribune editorial board in a recent visit by the five presidents of Pierce County’s community and technical colleges.

Since 2008, state funding for the two-year colleges has fallen by more than $1,000 per student and will fall to $1,200 less per student by 2013. The schools have cut staff, frozen salaries for five years, eliminated programs, made other efficiencies – and still were able to serve 19 percent more students since 2008.
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Feb.
3rd

2-year colleges truly do transform lives


Chi Choi

The editorial board met this week with the presidents of the local two-year colleges – Tacoma Community College, Pierce College (Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup), Bates Technical College and Clover Park Technical College. Their schools have already absorbed big budget hits, and they wanted to convey their concerns about what yet more cuts could mean for the students they serve.

They were preaching to the choir; we’re well aware of the impact these schools can have in turning around the lives of people who might otherwise languish in low-wage jobs – if they can find work at all.

The presidents told us about a project of the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges, “Transforming Lives,” recognizing 34 people who have benefited from their education at one of the state’s two-year institutions. Click here to read their compelling self-written profiles.

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