Thursday, August 28, 2003

Not Mastering the Plan for Education 

If you think Minnesota's state university budget is bad, be glad you don't live in California. The Wall Street Journal covers the impact of California's budget implosion on its colleges and universities.
Among the hardest hit have been the state's community colleges, which many low-income students use as a stepping stone to better jobs and a better life. Many classes are full at these schools, others have been canceled, and enrollment fees have rocketed 64% higher, threatening to lock out many poor students.

And the woes at the state's other school systems promise more trouble for the community colleges. As fees shot up 30% at the California State University and University of California colleges, more students are expected to flock to the already-overburdened community schools. Things are expected to get even worse next spring, when CSU plans to slash enrollment growth nearly in half, denying admission to as many as 20,000 students. Six of its 23 campuses won't accept any freshmen or transfer students at all.

Hugh Hewitt comments today that
The inability to get into these colleges, their rising costs and rotten course offerings --now those are issues that all relate back to the crazy priorities of a Sacramento ruled by special interests that don't care about the state college and community college systems.
But the choices are being avoided. Cruz Bustamente, according to the WSJ article,
said last week that if he were elected he would roll back fee increases at the community colleges and open up more classes to meet demand. He would pay for the proposed changes with proceeds from a $12 billion revenue-raising plan, including $8 billion in higher taxes.
This means he is not willing to take on any of the special interests and crazy priorities. But it's hard to take on the middle-class entitlement that is state tuition, as we see as well in Alabama. Schwarzenegger says he will not cut further (though he may not roll back like Bustamente) and Ueberroth says he wants to spend more if he can find the money. California's 1960s "Master Plan for Education" is not going to meet the 21st Century soon, if I read these articles correctly.

UPDATE: WSJ article link fixed thanks to find by Financial Aid Office.)