Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hello! Anyone there?

Next Governor Must Step Up on Higher Education

Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine co-chair the California Coalition for Public Higher Education. Ackerman is a former California State Senator and Assemblyman (Republican), and Levine is a former U.S. Congressman and State Assemblyman (Democrat).

Monday, May 21st, 2018, Fox and Hounds

California’s acclaimed higher education system owes a debt to many governors and legislators, but particularly two governors who championed the growth and accomplishments of the University of California, California State University, and our community colleges. The next Governor has the opportunity to join this pantheon by restoring the State’s investment in our campuses and embracing a new vision for higher education.

Edmund G. “Pat” Brown’s role is well known.  The Master Plan for Higher Education that defined the role of the three segments was adopted on his watch.  During Pat Brown’s term, new campuses were added to all three systems, enrollment increased, and California became the world-wide model for public higher education.

Former Governor George Deukmejian, who recently passed away, was typically less visible in his support for higher education but made a major contribution nonetheless.  The “Iron Duke” came into office following Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown, both of whom had somewhat rocky relationships with UC and the other institutions.

Following the passage of Proposition 13—the property tax reduction initiative—in 1978, UC took a major hit in the State Budget with per student State support dropping by about 20% by the time Deukmejian took office, State financial support for higher education had been waning under the governorships of Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown (1.0).  The entire system was at a turning point.

Then UC President David Gardener made his case to the new Governor in a luncheon meeting that also included two of Deukmejian’s key advisors.  The Governor asked President Gardener what it would take to make the system whole.  Governor Deukmejian heard him out and worked with the Democratic Legislature to boost UC funding by 31% and CSU funding by 21% in the next Budget—a bold move by a fiscal conservative...

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