Listen, I know college is not for everyone. But the lengths to which politicians go in this state to assure people that college is not for everyone ... well, you begin to wonder why it is they don't want people to go.
And now lawmakers are complaining about the state's purchase of Lambuth University, as if Jackson shouldn't have or doesn't really need a four-year college.
The benefits to having a state school in Jackson are pretty big and pretty obvious. State schools are more affordable than private schools. Having one nearby means that students who are especially strapped for cash could live at home and save on room and board. State schools tend to be better set up for non-traditional students to attend (more evening classes, more support for students who need longer than four years to graduate, etc.), and having an institution that grants bachelors' degrees on a schedule that works for working adults means that teachers can do their continuing ed there. Meanwhile, people can work on degrees (like nursing) that let them change careers while they still hold down jobs.
And let's not fail to mention the benefits to local businesses of having a four-year college in Jackson. We're talking the availability of interns looking for job experience, the ability for businesses to work with the college to tailor programs to meet certain skill-set needs, and a place to send employees for continuing education.
Plus it's good for the city culturally. It's hard for community colleges to bring in big-name speakers or programs or exhibits, but easier for four-year schools.
Why anyone would begrudge Jackson that is hard for me to understand. If the only downside is that it costs money, it's an investment worth making. An educated workforce is a better-paid workforce. A better-paid workforce is a workforce with spending money.
And since our state revenue comes from sales tax, we should be doing what we can to make it possible for Tennesseans to have more money to spend.