Where Did America’s Dream of Free College Go?

Classrooms full of crying students. That’s how the scene is often described. In November 2005, at Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan, every classroom was full of teary-eyed students—jubilant, but teary-eyed.

They had good reason to be happy. The vice principal had just announced over the P.A. system that anonymous benefactors would be paying the students’ college tuition—all of the students across the entire school district, from kindergarten to high school, in perpetuity. Starting in 2006 and continuing until this day, the students have taken part in a social experiment of sorts.

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