Mar 222009
 
Authors: J. David McSwane

Just because a state’s gone blue doesn’t mean it’s progressive — at least not in schizophrenic Colorado.

Despite a majority in the state legislature, Democrats might end up shooting themselves in the foot on an important and overdue bill for their party, and more importantly, the state: Non-discrimination in the higher education system.

The skinny: The bill, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee, would allow for foreign-born immigrants who have completed three years of high school in the state to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

These are kids like you and me who, by no fault of their own, are denied the same opportunity to attend a school like CSU. Now, we’re talking race, equality and opportunity.

With the racists and befuddled fiscal conservatives only recently the minority, it’s not our state’s forte. But with the recent Democratic resurgence in the West, liberals and even a few wealthy conservatives were hopeful . until for some odd reason, the bill, despite having no fiscal impact for the state, was tossed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

There, Democratic Sen. Moe Keller promises to vote against the bill, tipping a 6-4 majority to a 5-5 split, which will kill the bill. The Senator from District 20, which includes Edgewater, Golden and Lakewood (no shortage of undocumented people there), will henceforth be referred to as “Bill Killer.”

Bill Killer, who according to her online resume has a decent background in education and social work, has offered no justification for giving her party, and apparently her own values, the big stiffy. She just says she doesn’t want to talk about it.

Maybe she’s one of those elusive “conservadems” everyone’s been talking about. Or maybe it’s a political strategy to vote on the Republican line and thwart her own party’s efforts — a wolf in a Democrat’s clothing. Or maybe she just doesn’t understand the bill.

It really seems straightforward. But for the sake of argument, let’s review the possible consequences of the bill:

A better educated work force: Colorado is currently experiencing what some call a disabling “paradox.” While our workforce is among the most educated in the union, our graduates are less and less qualified as a result of conservative restrictive tax policies like The Tax Payers Bill of Rights that strangle higher education funding. To overcome that, radical change is needed. This bill would bring additional revenue to the system because — let’s think about it — how many trust fund illegal immigrants do you know who could pay out-of-state tuition? And we’d have a more diverse group of educated individuals, too. Yippee!

Incentive: Many students in urban and rural Colorado currently have little reason to complete high school. Among the myriad cultural and political factors, the current prohibitive nature of higher education is far from encouraging, and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education continues to boost entry requirements, which are arguably positive for the wealthy, white school districts, but keeps many minority (some undocumented) from advancing themselves. This bill could be the impetus for grassroots movements to keeps kids in school and to contribute positively to society, and the bill would force CCHE to investigate a more equitable transition of poor school districts to meet heightened requirements. Cool beans.

Equity: For those of you pansy liberals out there, it furthers the notion and pursuit of happiness to a new, and valuable, demographic and future generations. Sweet.

Last but not least:

More Mexicans and Latinos will be in college: Oh, crap! What if my son starts making delicious tamales and speaking Spanish?

It’s disgusting to think that this last detail is the only true reason the Senate Republicans — and apparently Bill Killer — are opposed. They’re scared of them “illegals.”

Regardless of one’s stance on immigration, this bill does not seek to make foreign-born children U.S. citizens; it merely hopes to afford the same opportunities many of you and I had to work hard in high school, to get As, to aspire for something greater, to be the first in our family to go to college.

To teeter on the cliche’: It’s the God Damn American Dream!

Bill Killer, please stop being a racist hag.

Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane is a senior journalism and technical communication major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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