Letters to the Editor

President wrong about community colleges

While speaking at a training facility for the International Union of Operating Engineers in Ohio President Donald Trump stated, “I don’t know what that means, a community college. Call it vocational and technical. People know what that means. They don’t know what a community college means.”

The President visited Kirkwood nine months ago, touring ag-related programs, Diesel Mechanics in particular. I suspect he has visited other community colleges too. So, to not by now understand the breadth of educational/training programs and community services all community colleges offer is very disheartening. Yes, community colleges are complex; everything from high school completion to dozens of career/technical programs to college transfer degrees in multiple disciplines to short-term certificates for those seeking specific job skills, plus special interest classes for casual learners … All things to all people, but in a very good and productive way.

The President’s comment suggested he sees a difference between what community colleges provide and training that occurs in union facilities. At Kirkwood, and I suspect all other community colleges with close-by union training and apprenticeship facilities, instructional staff make certain they cooperate and share common instructional goals. This is a key reason why Kirkwood Community College is successful, working collaboratively for the good of all. Partnerships include K-12 school districts, local governments and economic development, business and industry and labor unions. It works far better when we all work together, but not when uninformed comments suggest otherwise.

John Swanson

Cedar Rapids

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