New Op-ed: Big Picture Focus Needed for Higher Ed

n Sept. 28, 2017, Fox & Hounds published an op-ed from Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, titled, “Big Picture Focus Needed for Higher Education.”  Here’s an excerpt:

In recent years, there has been some progress in restoring a portion of the funding lost by higher education in State Budgets as the Legislature and the Governor’s office have sought to cope with a volatile economy and competing demands on the State’s resources.  Yet per student State funding for UC and CSU remains only a fraction of what it was two decades ago.

Too often, lately, legislators have focused on proposals to micro-manage the three systems, rather than addressing the imperative of bringing State support back to a level where our campuses can accommodate all qualified applicants seeking a first-rate education. Today, our high schools are producing more college ready graduates than was envisioned in the Master Plan in 1960—almost a third more for CSU and at least 10% more for UC.  It makes no sense for UC and CSU to have to shut the door on qualified California students.

Obviously, much has changed in the past 60 years.  California has experienced massive growth.  Technological change has remade our society and our economy.  Our population is highly diverse and filled with young people seeking opportunity.  California’s workforce needs have tilted decisively toward college graduates.

The Assembly Select Committee on the Master Plan should look at the big picture—how our higher education system can maintain excellence, sustain affordability for students and their families and improve access for those Californians ready and able.  California’s Master Plan continues to serve us well.  Our friends in the Capitol just need to find the dollars to keep its commitment of a quality education for each new generation.

Read the complete op-ed on the Fox & Hounds website.