Sanders took to The Washington Post to pen an editorial on why “It is time to build on the progressive movement of the past and make public colleges and universities tuition-free in the United States.” Making college free, he claims, “will be the driver of a new era of American prosperity.”
Students who master exams, memorize facts, and academic-style skills will be advantaged above minds that are more creative or business-oriented. That is positive for students who want to pursue a career in academia, but it is by no means better for general society.
The conceit of Bernie Sanders’ plan ignores diversity within society. Helping students afford college who would otherwise succeed is an important policy issue. However, not every high-school graduate should attend college. Society, and the people who comprise it, have diverse abilities and diverse goals. An education plan should recognize individual and societal complexity and allow all sorts to achieve success as they define it instead of funneling the youth into a one-size-fits-all educational system.