Looking a gift horse in the mouth is certainly obnoxious. Yesterday the Grand Rapids Press reported a small item. A panel of experts in higher education at a national conference in Anaheim, California, criticized the "Kalamazoo Promise" and made recommendations on how to fix it. The "Kalamazoo Promise" is a scholarship program that pays the college tuition for graduates of Kalamazoo's public schools. The program is funded by an anonymous donor.
The experts in Anaheim criticized the "Kalamazoo Promise" as inadequate for low-income residents of Kalamazoo. Specifically they complained that more money will go to middle-class students than poor ones because middle-class students tend to go to higher-cost colleges. Plus, poor students receive need-based aid from other sources. This is a baffling complaint. Nothing in the "Kalamazoo Promise" program stops poor students, at least on the basis of family income, from attending colleges that are more expensive. And, of course, poor students who receive funds for college from elsewhere will need less money from the "Kalamazoo Promise" program. So what's the problem?
Then the experts also expressed concern that the "Kalamazoo Promise" could usurp the democratic process, because as a private gift from an anonymous donor there was no "community discussion" about the program's rules and administration. Now think about this, folks. These eggheads are saying that it isn't enough that a person has contributed his wealth to a worthwhile cause. They are complaining that this person hasn't allowed the "community" -- i.e., the so-called experts like them -- to dictate how his gift should be used. The kibbitzers are clueless. It isn't the community's money to decide how to spend it.
These experts had further gripes, such as the value of homes in Kalamazoo might go up because people are attracted to the city because of the scholarship program. No kidding. What an upside-down world we live in when good things are perverted into bad things. Just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished.