Tuesday, April 27, 2004

California higher ed crisis

Sometimes I think I'm getting shafted because the newspapers with the good stuff aren't in LA. The SF Chronicle has an editorial on how it's getting harder to get a higher education in California. Higher ed used to be part of the California dream. And the prime mover behind the destruction of this dream is our wonderful movie-star governor, who did promise at one point that education will not be touched if he is elected.
    All this might have been easier to bear if the new admissions plan had been adopted after a statewide discussion about the role of UC and CSU in light of the state's budget deficit. Instead, many of the most senior leaders in higher education -- including UC President Robert Dynes -- were caught by surprise when the plan popped up in Schwarzenegger's budget in January.
The plan is to send the kids to the community college system, which by the way is overbooked, overcrowded and overwhelmed with students.
    Implementing a hurriedly devised plan imposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the University of California will for the first time turn away students who have met all regular requirements for admission. Some 7,600 students who took all the required courses in high school and achieved the necessary scores on the SAT I and SAT II -- with an average 3.46 high school grade-point average -- have been told to go somewhere else.

    The "somewhere else" is one of the state's already overflowing community colleges that are struggling to serve students who are already there. True, the rejected UC students have been told that if they do well at a community college they will be guaranteed admission to a UC campus in their junior year. But it is highly unlikely that students who had their hearts set on getting into UC Berkeley or another UC campus will choose to go to institutions such as Laney Community College in Oakland or Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, as much as we admire the education they provide.
And the wonderful irony of all this is that UC higher educational officials get a raise, in the middle of horrific budget cuts. Hmm. By the time my kindergartener gets to college, I don't think there's going to be anything left.