Sunday, April 17, 2011

I want to applaud UCLA Chancellor Gene Block's recent LA Times piece, which points out that the very politicians who are currently blandly countenancing massive cuts to California's Master Plan for higher education have gotten where they are now in part on the strength of their California public educations.
And what of the legislators who have refused Californians the right to decide whether they want to face such a scenario? Perhaps they will excuse me, but I detect a certain irony in their posture. A majority of them graduated from California's public universities and colleges, and greatly benefited from the high-quality, low-cost education they received.

Overall, two-thirds of the Assembly and Senate members attended a community college, Cal State or UC, many of them two or three of these institutions. These leaders, in other words, built their careers in public service upon the foundation of the state's esteemed Master Plan for Higher Education — now in tatters — that assured an education to every qualified student in California. Of the 42 Republicans in the Legislature — none of whom has yet to provide one of the two GOP votes needed in each chamber to put the tax extension on the ballot — 29 are products of the state's higher education system. They include the Senate and Assembly minority leaders — who attended Los Angeles Valley College and Fresno State, respectively — as well as the vice chairman of the Assembly's Higher Education Committee, who went to UC Irvine.
Those who once benefited from California's excellent, low-cost public higher ed system are hypocrites and worse if they won't maintain that system for today's qualified California students.

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