Monday, September 29, 2014

Do Old Master Plans Just Fade Away (Or Do They Die)?

Gen. Douglas MacArthur is famous for his quote in 1951 after Truman removed him that "old soldiers never die; they just fade away."  Actually, however, he did die (in 1964).  So the question, once something begins to fade, is not whether it will die but rather when.  With that in mind, consider the item below:

In what could portend a monumental shift in public higher education in California, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday that will allow up to 15 community colleges to launch bachelor’s degrees programs in vocational fields. While 21 other states offer community college baccalaureates, California’s colleges have traditionally been the domain of transfer students and career technical education, granting two-year associate degrees, as established more than fifty years ago in the Master Plan for Higher Education. Senate Bill 850 will allow colleges to experiment with four-year degrees. The pilot program is set to begin no later than the 2017-18 academic year and end in 2024...

Full story at

As we have noted in past posts, the operations of the community colleges are more likely to affect CSU than UC (although it could have some effect on transfers to UC).  Nonetheless, Jerry Brown - while not formally killing his dad's Master Plan - seems to be sending it to hospice care.  One could argue, of course, that the Master Plan's "fade" started under Gov. Reagan with rising tuition and the dismissal of UC president Clark Kerr - the Plan's author.  [There are old timers from the 1960s up in Berkeley celebrating the free speech movement's 50th anniversary; it is doubtful they are celebrating their role in electing Reagan over Pat Brown in 1966, a campaign in which the former prominently promised to deal with student unrest in Berkeley.]  In principle, the original Plan ran only until 1975.  However, the piece that remained, up to now at least, were distinct roles and distinct admissions policies for the three segments.  Prior to the Plan in the 1950s and before, there was no clear division of labor between the segments.  So we seem to be going back to the future.

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