Panetta Institute discusses future of California’s public education.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
For a high school graduate, being accepted into college is an exciting accomplishment, but California State University Chancellor Charles Reed says, “It’s not only getting students in, it’s getting students to graduate.”
With the state’s higher education institutions taking another budget beating this year, Reed says achieving either is about to get harder than ever.
The Panetta Institute for Public Policy at CSUMB on March 28 hosted Reed, former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to discuss the future of public education and the challenges it faces in the cash-strapped state.
“There is a cloud over California,” Reed says. “Higher education is probably taking a disproportionate reduction in the budget.”
Reed says that in order “to maintain quality,” the CSU system will reduce the number of students enrolled this year by 10,000 and raise tuition rates by 15 percent, offsetting the gap by $140 million. The CSU system is also asking schools to work toward consolidating programs and to reduce low-enrolled programs in an effort to further shore up the financial trouble.
So far, Gov. Jerry Brown has spared public K-12 programs in this year’s budget, recognizing past cuts and preserving current funding, as California failed to secure federal Race to the Top dollars twice last year.
Both O’Connell and Villaraigosa spoke on the vigorous efforts they put into acquiring the $700 million in public education funds up for grabs through the the Race to the Top initiative – believing that changes made to qualify for the initiative were worthwhile and necessary to public education.
Regardless of past failings Villaraigosa says simply, “We can’t keep making excuses.”