In the 1950s and 1960s California boasted the nation’s best school system at the K-12 level. It was the model for the country. As a result of government policies that began being instituted in the late 1970s, however, California’s schools have been sliding progressively downhill. Our K-12 schools are now at the bottom in the nation, along with Mississippi and Guam. Higher education for its part is now under threat of being transformed into something unrecognizable, damaged in the same way that K-12 has been.
Why is this happening?
The present crisis did not come about just because of the deep recession. This recession and this crisis in education are the logical outcome of policies that privilege those with a lot against those with much less. These policies trump private interests and private goods over public goods and public interests.
This crisis, in other words, is an induced crisis.
California is the only place in the nation that doesn’t tax oil companies for extracting petroleum. If AB 656 in the state legislature passes, the funds from this extraction tax would fully fund the entire California university system.Wouldn’t you think then that the CSU and UC administrators would be lobbying Sacramento hard for AB 656? Guess what? They oppose it. The oil companies are making record profits in the tens of billions per quarter. That’s profits, not revenue. Profits of tens of billions every three months. The money is there.
CSU Chancellor Charley Reed say that there is no money for the CSU in Sacramento, but somehow there is the money to pay his salary of $452,000 plus a free house and free car and gas. . . . while lecturers and tenure track faculty ranks are whittled away and our pay is cut and student fees and class sizes balloon each year.