Last week I attended WBUR’s City Space event, “This Changes Everything: College Presidents Discuss, The New Normal For Incoming Students.” The event brought together four college presidents from the greater Boston area to discuss how their respective colleges have adapted to COVID-19 and the “new normal.” As I reviewed my notes, I continued to see quotes from Pam Eddinger, President of Bunker Hill Community College, that I furiously circled on my yellow legal pad. I was captivated by what she said about how drastically underfunded community colleges are throughout the entire conversation.
Part of my role at ecoText includes talking with individuals from all levels of higher education. I have had countless conversations with deans, librarians, and academic technologists from prominent universities to community colleges. A common theme that is continuously expressed in those conversations was echoed by Pam Eddinger that night; last year’s pandemic events revealed how poorly funded our country’s education system is, especially at the community college level. This is not a problem that just sprouted up out of nowhere, and this has been an ongoing problem for years and “doesn’t need more research” to prove it.
As much as the COVID pandemic has been a curse, there is a silver lining. The pandemic put the educational system under a microscope, and we were able to see “how broken these systems are’’ [Eddinger]. She went on to say that this realization “allows us to be more mindful when rebuilding it.”
As we continue to adapt to life after COVID, we cannot brush this problem under the rug anymore. As a society, we need to highlight how underinvested community colleges are. We need to continue to fight for better educational resources and continue to help these communities grow. Students are the future, and we need to make sure each is provided with an equitable education to ensure that they can positively impact our society.
“Until it works for community college students, it isn’t working.”— Pam Eddinger, President, Bunker Hill Community College
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