To the editor: Our country limited free education to the eighth grade prior to our transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy at the turn of the last century. The few families that could afford to do so sent their children (mostly boys) to prep schools. ("The nuts and bolts of Obama's community college plan," Jan. 14)
But when the 20th century economy required everyone to have a high school education, we made it free and universal for all genders.
The 21st century economy also has major changes: more services than manufacturing, many jobs requiring skilled workers and increased global competition. So we need to make another change — free and universal access to higher education, including postsecondary skills training — if we want to retain America's global competitiveness.
All public colleges and universities should be tuition free, as they were in California less than 50 years ago. The president's America's College Promise plan is a great first step toward that goal and deserves bipartisan support.
Morley Winograd, Arcadia
The writer is president and chief executive of the Campaign for Free College Tuition.
To the editor: The money California could receive needs to be used for more than just tuition. Additional counseling is needed so students can receive help in achieving their goals.
As a student, I have had to wait at least a week or two to have an appointment with a counselor. Counselors often book an entire week of appointments by Monday morning. If I do not call early enough on Monday, I have to wait a whole week to get another appointment.
There are already many types of financial aid for students, but that money can go to waste without proper guidance from a counselor.
David Zea, Bellflower