Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

For the Future of the Treasure Valley: Community College Yes

Posted by Adam Graham on May 8, 2007

I write on what I hope will be a day when bloggers across Idaho will come together to stand for an initiative that will move Idaho forward. On May 22nd, we will have the great opportunity to go forward and support the passage of an initiative to create Western Idaho College, a community college for the Treasure Valley.

There are many points to be raised for this college which I’ll address in short order. The point has been raised time and again in favor that we face a coming nursing crisis in this Valley, with not enough nurses to meet the needs of a growing metropolitan area. The case has been made that this will be key to economic growth. All are valid, and have been ably made.

What I would like to bring to the table is my own personal perspective. As the son of Disable American Veteran and Minister, my family didn’t have the money to go to College. Had we lived in Boise at the time, I suppose when I decided at age 19 that I wanted to go to College, I would have ended up a day late and a few thousand dollars short. But I lived in Flathead County (with a population of around 80,000) and the residents had the wisdom in 1967 to create a Community College District.

Because of this, I had a chance at an education. My older brothers had only gotten GEDs, but I was blessed to go to college. It was at FVCC that certain things became clear about my life’s direction. I met an English Instructor who helped spur me on towards better writing, I learned the art of Oral Interpretation which time and time again has informed my professional presentations.

FVCC provided me with a solid foundation for life and the study of journalism. Thanks to a grant the first year, and an Academic Scholarship the second year, I left school with no student loans. I also had the opportunity to attend University of Montana School of Journalism on a full tuition scholarship but chose to enter the workforce instead. The opportunity that was extended to me is something that many Treasure Valley Students will miss out on if we fail to approve Western Idaho College.

Homeschoolers will benefit greatly from the passage of this initiative. While many homeschoolers are sought out by top colleges, for working families where one parent stays home to manage the children’s education find themselves unable to provide their children with a top flight education Many homeschoolers attend Flathead Valley Community College. Community Colleges are traditionally open enrollment and with low tuition, students are able to attend without thousands of dollars in scholarships that are often closed to homeschooled students.

Community Colleges save taxpayers and businesses money, by providing an inexpensive local resource when training becomes necessary. For example, in order to maintain their licenses teachers are required to take a number of credit hours. Wouldn’t it make more sense for these courses to be done through the Community College (if possible) rather than at more expensive universities? In Montana, I saw the state enjoy savings from retraining laid off employees through the Community College rather than the University of Montana, with its much higher tuition.

Community Colleges provide a greater degree of academic diversity. What impressed me about my time at FVCC is that about 70-80% of the Instructors, I couldn’t tell you whether they were Republican or Democrat. I couldn’t tell you where there biases lay. They were simply good instructors. Community Colleges attract a wider pool of potential applicants. If you go to FVCC, you meet people with experience outside the four-walls of academia. You meet people who’ve not sold their souls to gain a position. One of my professors explained why she came from Wisconsin to Kalispell by saying she wanted to raise a family and that she could not do that in an atmosphere of publish-or-perish as happens every major University in this country. Family came first, so she came to Kalispell, taught mostly during the time her children were in school and was able to spend the Summer with them after she taught Interim classes. This type of experience of people with lives and dreams, and interests outside traditional Academia will be far more common at Western Idaho College than BSU.

Let’s be clear, I’m a Conservative. I cast my first vote in the Treasure Valley against the ill-conceived auditorium district in February, 2004. I’m also a Conservative who supports this college. I believe in the values that made this country great. When I look at the Founder’s lives, they give us clue as to how they interpreted government at the state and local level. Thomas Jefferson’s final achievement was the founding of the University of Virginia. He wrote his own epithet and listed three accomplishments: authoring the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, writing the Declaration of Independence, and being “father” of the University of Virginia. Given that Jefferson didn’t mention his status as Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, Vice-President, President, or as an Ambassador, what does it say that the establishment of an institution of higher education ranks with two of the greatest texts of the Founding Era? It suggests that the founders believed in the general availability of education. It is why time and time again, you’ll find the Founding Fathers behind efforts to build schools, colleges, and universities of all sort. Washington in his eighth State of the Union called for the establishment of a National University towards that end.

I believe in expanding educational opportunities to a greater number of Treasure Valley residents, so I urge my fellow citizens to go to the polls and vote Yes on the Community College.

Visit Community College Yes and Community College Now for more information.

Other Blogs taking today to urge passage of the Community College:

Bubblehead

Rep. Branden Durst
The Political Game
Red State Rebels who also provides early voting information:

Ada County will have three days and three locations for early voting. On Thursday, May 17; Friday, May 18; and Monday, May 21, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., ballots may be cast at these locations:

Idaho Fish & Game, 600 S. Walnut, Boise
Eagle City Hall, 660 E. Civic Lane, Eagle

Christ Lutheran Church, 1406 W. Cherry Lane, Meridian

Andrea and I might go and vote on the 18th when I have the day off.

Thanks for everyone for joining this blog burst. The level of bi-Partisan support for this will be noted. Let’s get this passed for the future of Idaho.

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5 Responses to “For the Future of the Treasure Valley: Community College Yes”

  1. Adam, I have posted, too.

    Thanks for organizing this. And let me just say that I am thrilled to see you say that taxes can sometimes be a good thing.

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    Well, of course, I’m not an anarchist. Where we’ll continue to disagree–will be covered another day.

  3. Picasso Quick [Visitor] said

    I’m thrilled to see that bloggers have united in support of the community college. There is one blog, though, that hasn’t gotten on board, and that’s the Boise Guardian. Let’s all go to that site and show our support on the various community college threads: http://www.boiseguardian.com

    Community College YES!

  4. Norm Semanko [Visitor] said

    Adam–What do you and your readers make of the proposal to expand Treasure Valley Community College as an alternative to a brand new community college in Nampa? TVCC already has campuses in Ontario and Caldwell.Isn’t that the more conservative alternative, as I have heard Bob Forrey discuss? Thanks for helping further the debate. We just happen to disagree on this one. I will be voting “no”.–Norm Semanko

  5. Adam Graham [Member] said

    I understand the point of view, but in the Statesman Article, the TVCC people made it pretty clear that TVCC was an Oregon College with an Idaho extension, so you’re never going to get things to cater to Idahoans. They can make some improvements to be sure, but at this point you have to drive to Ontario to do the science labs.

    In addition, I don’t know how much more Conservative it is, in that we’re relying on Oregonians to build this college. We have no way to get them to expand seriously I’ll respectfully disagree and we’ll see what happens on election day.

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