Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Educated Beyond Their Intelligence

Yesterday was a “Day of Action to Defend Education” in California.  Students and faculty marched in protest of budget cuts to the California University system.  But, as Megan McArdle quipped, they are really protesting reality.  Here’s the WSJ:

If you went searching for the proximate cause of the “Strike and Day of Action to Defend Education,” you wouldn’t find it in any pattern of oppression. You’d find it in a couple of acts of desperation last year. First, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, facing the worst budget crisis in state history, cut about $600 million in overall funding for 10-campus University of California and the 23-campus California State University. Then the U.C. regents and C.S.U. trustees, facing budget crises of their own, reduced programs, furloughed workers, and raised tuition.


Despite the budget cuts, California will this year devote $3 billion to the U.C. system. That’s about $13,000 per student—more than the $10,000 per student that Illinois devotes to the University of Illinois and better than double the $6,000 per student that New York devotes to the SUNY system. Yet Mr. Schwarzenegger did not denounce the agitation at Berkeley. He gave in to it.

Robinson takes apart the glib comparisons to the Vietnam protests:

We have here the vocabulary of the peace movement, of the struggle for decent conditions for migrants and other exploited workers, and of the civil-rights movement. Yet what did the protesters demand? Peace? Human rights? No. Money. And for whom? For the downtrodden and oppressed? No. For themselves. At a time when one American in 10 is unemployed and historic deficits burden both the federal government and many of the states, the protesters attempted to game the political system. They engaged in a resource grab.

Even Stephen Bainbridge, who, like many faculty, is taking a pay cut, is having none of this.  He particularly takes issue with the desperate attempts by the protesters to inject race into it (come on, you saw this coming).

The UC system was one of the first in the country to adopt affirmative action programs. Granted, Proposition 209 resulted in a decline in black and hispanic enrollment at the UC schools. Yet, the regents and virtually all administrators have consistently opposed 209. Indeed, many suspect that policies like comprehensive admission review were intended to end-run (some would say cheat) Prop 209.

Look. I’m as frustrated as an UC stakeholder with the state of affairs. It would be nice, however, if our students could put their energy to something more useful than unconstructive whining.

Now, I’ll pause while you re-read the links HL and I posted on the Greek situation, where protests over exploding over cuts in bonuses for government employees.

California education is supposed to be free, but that hasn’t been the case for a while.  The students are screaming about fees going up 32%, but that’s only because they were so low to begin with.  As noted above, they are getting ten grand a piece from the State.  Maybe numbers are different in California.  But where I come from, ten grand can buy one hell of an education (to say nothing of grants, scholarships and the Federal government’s open-ended commitment to cheap subsidized loans).

We’re again seeing the entitlement mentality at its worst.  Maybe it’s not fair that the State is failing to fulfill its supposed commitment to free higher ed.  But that’s the way things are, fair or unfair.  If the students want to really vent their frustration, why don’t they go the state employee’s unions who are sucking the state coffers dry?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/05/10 at 07:49 PM in Cullyforneah • Permalink


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