Today I encounter this story about the deteriorating condition of higher education here in California:
"It is the most significant step California has ever taken in planning for the education of our youth," said Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, while signing the Master Plan for Higher Education on April 26, 1960.
Nearly 50 years later, the plan is faltering, burdened by decades of passive state oversight and a blurring of the roles the state's three branches of higher education were supposed to play.
The results are grimly manifest throughout California...
"California, which set the gold standard for higher education planning in 1960, now stands alone among sizable states in its lack of established goals, a statewide plan and an accountability system for higher education," concluded a January report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office...
In its January report, the Legislative Analyst's Office recommended what in essence amounted to an overhaul of the higher education master plan...
(Assemblyman) Block and others have suggested that the state's current budget crisis offers an opportunity for a revamping of the master plan – and makes it a necessity, since state support is not likely to increase appreciably in the next few years.
"It's high time we take another look at our master plan and see how we can improve it," Assemblyman Manuel Perez, D-Coachella, said at a legislative hearing on the plan earlier this month.
We might revamp the system, or we might revisit whether there's a public good in the state's spending so much on higher education. After all, it's not 1960 anymore.
I'm not pointing to a particular outcome here, but it's important to reassess whether the conditions of 1960 are still present enough to merit spending as much money as we do for someone else's college education.