- - Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Peter Morici’s language about single mothers in the op-ed about President Obama’s proposal for free community college is problematic (“Obama’s bogus community college giveaway,” Web, Jan. 14). Mr. Morici creates a vision of the impoverished single mother who lacks confidence, suffers emotional distress, lacks reading and math literacy and is waiting in the wings to enter and disrupt institutions of higher education. He resorts to fear mongering to falsely warn of this “risky” type of student in effort to dissuade the public’s approval of Obama’s plan.

I have taught numerous single mothers in community college. I have conducted research on the experiences of pregnant and parenting students across multiple community college campuses. Here is what the public should know about single student mothers at community colleges: Single student mothers face unique challenges as they work to support their families, hold down a job or two, and meet the demands of rigorous coursework. Yet single-mother students represent some of the most intellectually inquisitive pupils, with first-rate critical thinking, writing and dialogue skills. They model persistence and determination.

Financial constraints may result in single mothers delaying or interrupting their education, but Mr. Obama’s plan could keep them on their educational pathway to graduation and social mobility.


Clinton, N.Y.

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