Friday, 9 January 2015

This Community College Idea

I looked at this brief proposal of President Obama.....free community college.  It's an interesting idea.....but basically just an idea thrown out there, without any substance.

How to make it work?  You'd start to toss out the idea of one-through-twelve grades of high school.  You'd come to some point of admitting that forty percent of all kids have the wit and knowledge....with a few changes....to wrap up high school by the end of the tenth grade.  You'd allow these kids to take a test and get a diploma.....then leave at age sixteen.  They'd get two years of free tuition at a local state-run public college....because of the savings that the state would have from them not having to attend the last two years of college.

The remaining kids?  They'd get another chance to test at the end of the eleventh grade....which fifty percent of this group would likely pass and get their diploma.....thus getting one year of community college.....free of charge.

The final group would wrap up their schooling at the end of the twelfth grade, and get no free tuition.  Simply their tough luck.

Who would stand against the idea?  School teachers would hate it because it'd put ten percent of them out of business.  From the twenty-odd teachers used for teaching the tenth through eleventh grade....you could dismiss three or four.

The school sports mafia would hate it because so many schools would end their high school basketball, baseball and football programs.....lacking enough mature students to have any decent teams.  Colleges would quickly falter and suddenly lack decent players as well.  Then the whole professional sports program would suffer.

Beyond this....it's practically impossible to come up with tuition for six-million kids who would want to attend some local community college.  And on the fairness scale....what do you offer the kids who are too stupid to attend community college?

RAF Mildenhall Closes?

Yesterday, the Air Force announced their next closure list for Europe.  The only thing of significance listed?  The closure of RAF Mildenhall.

Mildenhall is a base that the US has had around since 1950.  It's a mile or two outside of Bury Saint Edmunds.....maybe a ninety-minute drive northeast of London.

I went on temp-duty to the base on four occasions.  For me, it was like walking out of a door....into the 1940s.  Most buildings on the base were brick, and the landscaping was still you'd imagine from seventy years ago.

The best pub to go to?  Near the front gate was the Bird in Hand pub.  What you'd order was the Gammon-sandwich.  I'd describe the Gammon as a big one piece of baked bread....as thick as a pineapple, and big slab of ham in the middle with some salad sauce over it.  In brief, it was loaded with fat, calories, and bad stuff for your heart.  It wasn't exactly cheap.....but if you ate one of these for lunch.....you were generally full for the next twelve hours.

Out the back-gate....at least back around 1993....there was this cafe which served breakfast.  You'd get a heaping plate of your six essential fatty breakfast foods, with a big cup of coffee for roughly $8.  The British as I learned....are rather gifted at knowing the foods which are bad for you and making them look delicious.

I generally always stayed at the on-base 'inn'.....a crappy place which I'd rate at a two-star.  On one occasion, they put me up off-base.....at some no-name inn.....where in the midst of winter, I stepped into my room to find it pretty close to 32-degrees.  It took six hours for that room to warm up to an acceptable level.  The Brits are that way.....never wasting heat.

What they say is that they were spending $500 million a year on rent for three British installations, and they just quit those installations.....saving money by pushing some operations to Germany.

What becomes of RAF Mildenhall?  It's hard to say.  I think the locals are mostly in a state of shock and always thought it'd be the last place to close down.  It would make a decent regional airport.....but they already have a couple.  My guess is that it'll shut down and just be overgrown in five years.