Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hey Republicans: Shaddup

I want to thank the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee, Larry Lyon, and the IdaHope PAC for nudging me off the fence in deciding how to vote May 16 on whether to convert Eastern Idaho Technical College into a community college.

Thanks to their reasoned scaremongering over (horrors!) of a potential College of Eastern Idaho emulating the College of Southern Idaho in assisting refugees to settle in our community and the bugaboo of wildly unlimited tax increases which could see my taxes go up initially $13.77 a year and then (consernation and hubbub!) forty to fifty cents a year beyond that if the community college board so chooses, I can see only one way to vote.

I’m going to vote in favor.

I've got three kids, you see. They are already doing dual enrollment and whatever other college credit they can get while they’re in high school (well, one of them is in junior high and the other is only getting started with these opportunities, but you get the picture). My wife and I also teach part-time as online adjunct instructors for BYU-Idaho. We know, like Larry Lyon, that there are many opportunities for local kids to get a higher education, or at least a toehold.

If I have another opportunity to present my kids with another higher education option, whether it be online classes, dual enrollment, Advanced Placement courses and tests, or a community college that sees fit to educate its students on (don’t let it be!) the merits of helping the downtrodden to find a new home and a new life in a new country, I’m going to take it. And if all it costs me initially is $13.77 a year, well, that’s an expense I’m willing to take on. Even with the wildly exorbitant tax increases the Republicans fear will come. I won’t even have to eat out one fewer time a year to pay for it – because, you know, if spending an extra $13 a year is going to crash your budget, you’re planning things way, way too tight.

So I’m researching the issue, thanks to this fearmongering.

I’m finding some interesting things. For example, tuition at a potential College of Eastern Idaho is set to run at about $130 a credit hour, per the Idaho Education News. That’s compared to the $348 a credit hour Idaho State University charges. A College of Eastern Idaho is sounding better and better, considering the burden of student loan debt I keep hearing about.

And as for fearmongering over “mission creep” leading to the horrors of a refugee resettlement center, bark up a different tree, please. You see, Mr. Lyon, Republican Central Committee, IdaHope, back in 1950 when my father, his brother, and their parents came to Idaho, thanks to a Mr. Lorin Andersen, who kindheartedly sponsored a Dutch family he’d never met to settle in Idaho Falls, there wasn’t a community-sponsored welcome wagon. Mr. Anderson helped my Dad’s family settle in, including paying train fare from Chicago to Idaho after their money ran out. The Greatest Generation saw fit to welcome my Dad’s family, who could have stayed on in The Netherlands after the horror of World War II but wanted to seek a better life and a farm of their own in the United States. Thankfully, there were people in Idaho Falls at the time who didn’t mind engaging in “controversial and divisive activities beyond the scope” of any mission, educational, evangelical, or moral they might have had. Lorin Anderson just knew a family in The Netherlands wanted to come to the United States, so he helped them.

So to tell me I should oppose a community college because they might emulate the Christian charity of another community college, that pushed me off the fence. I’ll vote yes on May 16, thanks to you.

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