UCLA writes about the California Coalition for Public Higher Education

On Jan. 8, 2018, UCLA Government and Community Relations published an article, “California Coalition for Public Higher Education Emerges As Key Partner.”  Here’s an excerpt:

As the public bemoans increasing partisan rancor in local, state and federal government, a new Political Action Committee (PAC) has quietly grown in prominence in California that is being driven by both Democrats and Republicans — showing a bipartisan way forward through an issue they can all agree on: funding higher education.

Former State Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman and former Democratic Congressmember and State Assemblymember Mel Levine are the “odd couple” as co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education (CCPHE), but to them, there is nothing weird about teaming up for an issue that is of paramount importance to keep California prominent in the nation and the world.

“There’s been an erosion of support for public higher education,” Levine said in a sit down with UCLA. “Candidly, I don’t fully understand why. Public higher education is absolutely indispensable to accomplish any number of important goals that the state of California has.” Particularly, he added, higher education is important for its role in social mobility and as the engine to educate a workforce for the economy of tomorrow.

The article concludes:

CCPHE has hosted multiple events bringing together the chancellors of all three segments to meet with influencers and PAC donors. The money raised has gone toward creating a de facto higher education caucus in the legislature. “There is now a cadre of strong supporters in the legislature who we work with and support politically,” Levine said, noting about a dozen legislators. “This is a real measure of success.”

Come the June 2018 primary, the PAC will have chosen a slate of candidates who have shown the willingness to put higher education first. “If legislators don’t make public higher education one of their top priorities, it just won’t get to the top of the list and funding won’t be there,” Levine said. Added Ackerman, “Most will say it is a priority, but they don’t put it at the top.”

The Coalition wants to step in where the universities and community colleges have to bow out — direct campaign contributions, which the public institutions are now allowed to participate in. “They couldn’t be as aggressive as someone from the outside,” Ackerman noted.

And the cause is more important than ever. “There was a time a number of years ago where it was said, in order to obtain a job to support your family, you needed a high school education,” Levine said. “Now, in order to perform many, many of the jobs in our information economy, you need at least a college education — and a high quality education — and often post secondary training. To an individual who wants to support his or her family, having a college education is absolutely essential.”

To help the cause, advocates can visit YesToHigherEd.org for opportunities to donate and participate in events. “We would welcome, encourage and warmly appreciate anybody reaching out to us on the website,” Levine said. “We would love to have you involved. This is an area we can make a difference where the University cannot.”

Read the complete article on the UCLA website.