Gov. Phil Bredesen, a democrat from Tennessee, is championing a set of proposals designed to improve higher education. Gov. Bredesen is proposing to invest an additional $50 million dollars to improve graduation rates, make available more individual attention to students and provide free tuition at community colleges for pupils who score a 19 or higher on the ACT entrance exam.
Gov. Bredesen appears to be motivated by the right reasons. A Tennessee newspaper editorial accurately pointed out that "people who fail to get their diploma or a GED are doomed to low-paying jobs, if they can find them at all. And they are more likely to turn to crime or be another kind of drain on the public coffers." Making academia more accessible for working class and returning students is always commendable.
At any rate, it is refreshing to see a Democratic politician take an aggressive approach to higher education policy. Young people are a very progressive voting block and they need to be mobilized if Democrats are going win elections. In many races, the youth vote can provide the margin of victory for a candidate.