FA Op-Ed in Today’s SF Chronicle
Stanton Glantz, vice chair of the UC Council of Faculty Associations, has written an Op-Ed that was published in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. The article is online at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/23/EDB61CK4L2.DTL
and is pasted below:
Median tax to restore higher education: $32
The UC regents are expected later this spring to remove the word “public” from the schools it examines when setting the price for attending professional school, opening the door to even faster tuition increases. This one-word change will move another step toward fully implementing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s vision, articulated in the 2004 “Compact on Higher Education,” to privatize UC and CSU.
The governor has cut state support and overseen huge fee increases, shifting more of the cost of college onto students and their families.
The UC regents would be using tuition and fees charged by private universities, which serve far fewer students and were never designed to create opportunities for the people of California, as the basis for setting fees for UC professional schools. (The regents already implemented the proposed policy for the law school at Berkeley, which already costs more than Stanford’s law school, $48,700 versus $42,400.) While the proposal coming to the regents is just for professional schools, the same arguments already have been made internally at the University of California to justify higher undergraduate tuition, too.
Facing public opposition, Schwarzenegger has done what every smart politician does: He has pretended to change. He decried the fact that California spends more on prisons than higher education and called for a constitutional amendment to commit at least 10 percent of the state budget to the University of California and California State University and limit prison funding to 7 percent.
Indeed, because he prepares the state budget, Schwarzenegger simply could have proposed these allocations in the budget he produced a few days later. He didn’t.
The fine print is even more cynical. The amendment would not take effect until 2014, long after he will have left office. It could be suspended if a future governor declared a “fiscal emergency.” Besides, the amendment could be neutered by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.
But wait, there’s more. The amendment is tied to privatizing prisons and exempting prison employees from civil service. This amendment is a PR gimmick to take pressure off the governor – and the UC and CSU leadership – to restore the promise of public higher education. If Schwarzenegger wanted to reverse spending priorities for colleges and prisons, he could do it without gimmickry.
Meanwhile, UC continues to increase the burden on California’s students and families. Just Monday, UC’s Commission on the Future floated the idea of increasing undergraduate fees to $20,721 a year.
The alternative? Restoring state investment to a truly accountable higher education system to restore the promise of higher education in California to what it was a decade ago.
Rolling fees back to 2000-01 levels ($4,924 for UC and $2,284 for CSU, adjusted for inflation), restoring per-student state funding, and providing places for every eligible student for UC, CSU and the community colleges would cost $4.6 billion.
That sounds like a lot, but it would cost the median California taxpayer just $32 next April 15. Two-thirds of taxpayers would pay $86 or less.
The UC administrative and faculty leadership has continued to pursue the governor’s privatization agenda. Instead of giving him political cover, they would better serve students, the state of California and the future of accessible, high-quality public higher education by asking for a thrifty $32 on April 15.
To learn more
For details on what it would cost you to help keep fees affordable and provide access for every qualified student, go to http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/553.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 at 4:26 pm and is filed under Financing Higher Ed, Privatization, State Politics, UC Administration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.