Promises, Redux

Back in November, I talked about the Kalamazoo Promise, a local program in Kalamazoo, MI, where wealthy donors committed to paying each Kalamazoo high school student's college tuition.

A wonderful piece of philanthropy, of course. But I worried about a ripple effect that would see city and state governments attempt to replicate the same thing these private donors did. Sean Lynch commented that if the Kzoo Promise shows inklings of success, "government is almost guaranteed to get involved" because such non-state dependency actions "make governments look bad".

Well, the news spilling out of an Iowa city this past weekend...

Kalamazoo gained national attention by initiating the Kalamazoo Promise, a program that will pay up to the full cost of college tuition for every local high school graduate.

Newton civic and school leaders want to do the same thing with the Newton Promise.

A significant difference, though: Anonymous private donors finance the Kalamazoo experiment. The Newton Promise would be partly publicly financed. Whether the promise becomes reality depends on the willingness of Newton voters to approve a local-option sales tax on March 28. Thus, the public benefit must be judged great enough to warrant taxing everyone to pay for it.

[bold added]

The newspaper's editorial board doesn't stop there.

Indeed, maybe state leaders should be thinking that big, too.


What's really needed is an Iowa Promise for every high school graduate in the state.

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What's really needed is less

What's really needed is less people in college.

I didn't really even think

I didn't really even think all that much of the private version. Whatever people want to do with their own surplus wealth is fine with me, but couldn't they find something better to do with it than give it away to upper- and middle-class kids?

Actually, I'd say there are

Actually, I'd say there are few (if any) upper-class kids in the city of Kalamazoo. Generally lower-middle to middle.