I could almost go along with the idea of tuition-free state colleges.

Almost.

But there would have to be some changes to make me bite on that idea.

The first, and biggest change would be that absolutely no taxpayer money would find its way into any athletic programs. Donors, advertising, and ticket sales would have to support entire programs, including salaries for athletic directors and coaches. Maybe athletic programs need to be some sort of a separate entity — not part of the college structure at all.

The second change I’d hold out for is no remedial classes. Anyone who couldn’t read English at a college level wouldn’t be accepted. Harsh, but a definite means of winnowing out the serious students from the others. Competence would be the deciding factor — not anything else.

Nor would there be any “life skills” classes. People who can’t balance a checkbook, or understand personal financial responsibility don’t belong in college.

The third thing I think would be needed is that every student would be required to take some form of ROTC classes. Why? To get an understanding of what our military does to keep us safe. In my opinion, too many young people want a lot, but don’t appreciate what it takes to deliver those things. (Do I hear an “OK, Boomer?”)

Now, here comes the (ahem) controversial one. Every student in every state-funded school would be required to take one year of classes in comparative religion. Comparative means learning the similarities and differences of religions. Atheism and agnosticism would be included. Deism would be included. Satanism would be included. The point is that students would be exposed to a variety of beliefs, and forced to learn how to get along with those who have differing beliefs.

Those who don’t want to be so exposed, or parents who don’t want their children to be so exposed, are free to choose private colleges that coincide with their beliefs.

On a different matter, in these trying times, the city and the school district are taking extraordinary measures to help the community. I appreciate those efforts, and I think you should too.

Wash often, cover your cough, and keep a safe distance. Two tricks I learned while working at Barnes & Noble. Carry your own pen. You have no idea who’s used the store pens. Never, ever lick your fingers before tearing off a check or counting out bills. The clerk wants your business, not your bugs. In my opinion prayer is useful as well.

The Quote: “Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?” -Voltaire

Thom Boncher is a retired marketing communications manager, former Jordan City Council member and Jordan resident since 2003.

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