Education activist Helen Lecar wrote us in response to an article on the role of blogs in covering the crisis in higher education. Ms. Lecar writes that the budget disaster goes beyond the University of California and includes the state's community colleges -- long the entry point for many to postsecondary education and middle-class earnings -- and now also imperiled.
From Ms. Lecar:
I just found your blog this AM, via the California Report and am delighted that you're working past at all the photo-op public media about student protests. The issue is, as you indicate, the long-term causes for the budget cuts and the wreckage they leave behind.
As a League of Women Voters activist on behalf of the California Community College System, however, I was disheartened to note the absence of any mention in the article of the even bigger calamity the 2-year colleges are facing. The same budget cuts, which are denying university admissions to thousands of qualified students, and re-directing them to the already overburdened, underfunded CC districts, are also excluding students altogether from the Master Plan's promise of universal access to higher ed.
There is now a strict, reduced cap on the number of full-time equivalent CC students the state will pay for, with devastating cuts to student services of all kinds. The end result is that the system-savvy, rejected university-eligible students, who know how to navigate the application process and fill out the forms early, are excluding by their sheer numbers the very students the CCs were set up to serve -- people who come late to higher ed, who need to retool their job skills, who were underserved in their K-12 years, who are newcomers to the US and the English language, who are trying to better their lives and learn their way into the middle class.
As Benjamin Franklin noted, "We must all hang together or we will all hang separately." Please keep your readers, and your students, aware that the cuts to education affect everyone, K-20, and indeed will destroy the future of the economy of the state if the current legislative pigheadedness is not reversed.