Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Uphill Battle

In the LA Times, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block pens a piece endorsing President Obama's plan to make community colleges free.  At the federal level, given the current political configuration in Congress, such a plan is likely to be DOA.  At the state level, no such plan is likely to be enacted, despite the Democratic majority in the legislature.

President Obama's bold proposal to make two years of community college virtually free is the most encouraging idea for higher education to emerge from Washington in years. Just like the 1862 Morrill Act, which donated land on which to establish great public universities, and the GI Bill, which helped World War II veterans attend college, the president's plan is a game changer, potentially adding two years of college onto every young person's education...

Full op ed at

The op ed is not an entirely selfless endorsement of a plan that wouldn't - if implemented - directly benefit UC.  It goes on to note:

...At the very moment economists are predicting a shortage of 1 million highly skilled workers in California by 2020, the state's disinvestment of public higher education — at the community college, state university and UC levels — has resulted in diminished access for many Californians... More students could and should be using community college as a pathway to UC. In fall 2013, UC enrolled more than 15,500 community college transfer students...

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