Colorado Springs Gazette: Rename and Modernize Community Colleges | Opinion


Democrats and Republicans in the Colorado legislature have a great idea that they should get to the governor’s office quickly. They hope to rename Pikes Peak Community College, based in Colorado Springs, to Pikes Peak State College. What seems trivial has immense ramifications.

Sponsors of the name-changing House Bill 1280 include Colorado Springs Democratic Reps. Mark Snyder and Tony Exum; Republican Senator Paul Lundeen Monument; and Colorado Springs Democratic Senator Pete Lee. It is refreshing to see these leaders agree on a constructive proposal that should benefit everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status or other traits. who should never divide us.

The Pikes Peak community has served as an alternative since its founding in 1968. It and similar institutions have long helped those who are not academically and/or financially prepared for a traditional university or college.

In 2019, The Gazette editorial board and others urged the legislature to qualify the community of Pikes Peak and similar institutions to offer four-year nursing degrees. The affirmative ruling will help alleviate a nursing shortage plaguing Colorado and much of the rest of the country. Pikes Peak’s nursing program is unparalleled in the Rocky Mountain region.

What the legislator started with nursing should be extended to other appropriate disciplines. Community colleges should move away from the two-year stigma by improving their curricula and names – while retaining the option of two-year business programs.

Benefits of community college integration include:

  • More competition in higher education to reduce student tuition and housing costs, economically democratizing post-K-12 learning for those traditionally left behind.
  • Teenagers are less likely to leave home unprepared for scenes of debauched campus parties in the absence of family and community support.
  • Increased access to practical degrees with more immediate market value than sociology, ethnic studies, and other commercially impractical majors encouraged by traditional campuses.
  • Upward mobility for smart people who, for various reasons, have to stay home after high school to support themselves and others.
  • Allow young people to continue in the long term with traditional two-year colleges that offer courses to high school students.

Rampant inflation, global instability, the pandemic, and our flourishing new access to information are rapidly changing our culture and economy. Higher education must adapt.

The exclusionary model of the old post-secondary academies has its place and will certainly survive. Despite a new negative stigma for woke anti-intellectual indoctrination, the Ivy League and other elite schools will retain a cache and a niche for young valedictorians and gifted intellectuals.

Meanwhile, the days of the white-collar/blue-collar, rich/poor divide in our higher education system are fading. Good riddance. We must reshape higher education for the 21st century.

We can start by renaming and modernizing our community colleges in cities and towns across the country.

Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board

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