Higher education needs a change

Calif. legislatures need to take responsibility during upcoming meetings.

The Daily Californian

Once every decade, the [California] state Legislature revisits the blueprint for CaliforniaâÄôs public universities âÄî the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education. And this once-in-a-decade event couldnâÄôt be coming at a more appropriate time. With frustration rippling throughout the system, itâÄôs time for legislators to take responsibility for their role in creating this crisis in the first place. The easy route for legislators, who convened hearings on various issues Monday, would be to praise the current system and wash their hands of culpability. Yes, California has been a world-renowned model for public higher education âÄî until now. As our elected leaders, theyâÄôve got to assess the system honestly and recognize the critical state our universities are in. As much as we support the ideals behind the master plan, itâÄôs clear that the system is much different than it was 50 or even 20 years ago. Legislators must come to terms with the reality of the situation and the role the state has played in systematically defunding higher education. Tuition-free education, as the plan originally envisioned, is unfortunately no longer in the cards. Legislators need to change the plan accordingly to reflect current conditions or change their commitment to funding higher education. Self-congratulatory words or empty lamentations wonâÄôt solve the funding crisis of the stateâÄôs institutions of public higher education. Legislators need to stop deceiving voters, step up and focus on making the system realistically affordable. This editorial was originally published in the Daily Californian at the University of California, Berkeley.