America had and needs to return to a free college program in order to continue on her path to greatness. The Ellis Island immigrant and the greatest generation were poor people who could not afford to pay for college, they came to a country that helped smart people become successful. It is sad that the sons of these greatest generational members, fight so hard to prevent others from receiving the same benefits. When you fight against free college, stop and ask yourself, how did my father make it, and stop changing the reality of the past. When America does the right thing, funds come to make correctness possible. Ask not how will free colleges be paid for, ask what can I do to help this country that has given me life.

America had a free college education system, during the 1950’s I attended this system as a pre medical student in The City College of New York City. New York City, at that time, also had an outstanding public education system. The public schools in New York City worked hard to prepare student for college or vocational careers. Those students in the public school, graduating with a B+ average were admitted to the public colleges in New York City. I attended Seward Park High School in New York City, an excellent school providing a quality education to the children of immigrants and the large African American populations located in New York City.

Today when I hear Americans shocking response to the idea of a free college education, I wonder about the state of their mental health, have they lost their memory, or have some just become so mean that they resent the idea of new immigrants having the same opportunities received by the immigrants of the past. I have run several multicultural programs in Bergen County New Jersey, and have taken many groups to the Ellis Island Museum. The purpose of the Museum trip is to remind people of the story of “the peopling of America.” Some of us have short memories, some of us forget how America became a great nation, and many of us have forgotten the role a free quality higher education played on our road to greatness. We need to stop thinking and acting in a selfish manner. The world is changing, it is the 21st century, and our world competitors are educating their people to take over major leadership positions in the world. While we fight to keep failing schools, and disapprove of any program where all American children have a common education experience, knowing a common core curriculum, China is preparing to eat our lunch. Education is a national security issue, racism is not. Free public Colleges worked in the past and they are needed today. American should not have to graduate from college owing thousands of dollars in student debt, while seeking jobs with unrelatable degrees in the soft courses. Education has in the past define our future, and  will do the same in the future.

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