Friday, March 10, 2017

GREATER SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: The High Cost of Defunding State Universities

GREATER SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: The High Cost of Defunding State Universities:

The High Cost of Defunding State Universities

Image result for big education ape starving schools to death

Seth Sandronsky,
Last month a seven-member panel met in the state Capitol to discuss the calamitous funding situation of the California State University system, as well as the prospects for creating free public higher education in the state. The latter idea of nationally establishing cost- and debt-free learning at the college and university levels had been popularized by Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign last year. Yet in California, the legacy of the revenue-slashing Proposition 13, which California voters approved in 1978 to cut property taxes, remains a formidable stumbling block.
At the heart of the February colloquium in Sacramento was a new report released by the California Faculty Association called Equity, Interrupted: How California is Cheating Its Future. (Disclosure: CFA is a financial supporter of this website.) Among the report’s findings is that the CSU student body rose 64 percent from 1985 to 2015, yet state funding for the system as a percent of the total general fund fell from 4.4 percent to 2.4 percent. 
Panelist and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) stressed the practical politics of raising taxes and spending them on public higher education. Ting, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee, pointed to November’s approval by San Francisco voters of Proposition W, which will establish free City College of San Francisco tuition for students who are city residents. It will be funded by a real estate tax on properties that sell for over $5 million.
A similar proposal is on the radar in New York state, where Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed in January that residents with annual household incomes of $125,000 or less attend state colleges without paying tuition. New York’s 2011-2015 median household income—the point at which one-half is below and the other half is above— was $59,269, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Such large-scale public investment in free education is not new. In 1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, better known as the GI Bill of Rights. That federal policy allowed mainly white ex-soldiers to attend colleges and universities, free of fees and tuition. (Jim Crow segregation kept nonwhite veterans from attending many public higher education institutions.) 
The economic impact of the GI Bill investment, which also GREATER SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: The High Cost of Defunding State Universities:


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