Concerned Citizens Want to Know: What is Going on in California

Russ Steele

This maybe be one of the reasons that the California economy is in the tank, our University Graduates are deep in debt and unprepared for the labor market:


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

4 Responses to Concerned Citizens Want to Know: What is Going on in California

  1. gjrebane says:

    Excellent find Russ. I’m gonna steal it. gjr

  2. Last year’s Valedictorian at UC Berkeley was a poster boy for perpetual college enrollment in what math and science types would consider cake classes. He’d been in the community college system for well over a decade, earning multiple AA’s, finally transferred into UC Berkeley and earned a stellar GPA taking the sorts of courses derided here. His degree was something like cultural anthropology or social work. Probably getting a Ph.D. in something like Comparative Uselessness as I write. His valedictory address exhorted his fellow grads to dance through life.

    The College of Chemistry commencement that evening was a breath of fresh air. Plenty of levity among the chemists and chemical engineers but they had all earned it.

    The problem with public (and private) colleges and universities is shared with all organizations… they will grow to consume all available monies, and want more. Additional funding sources, whether public tax money or individual student debt, fuels the growth and the waste, and the only real limit on curriculums is what the students are willing to pay for with their time and money. If just a BA in Anything is required, quality will suffer.

    Student debt in the US is up to around a trillion dollars, and that which can’t continue forever will eventually stop.

  3. Sean says:

    For what it’s worth, here in Maryland, the cost of attending a state school has been very high for a very long time. California is just playing catch-up.
    My biggest pet peeve is how long it takes to graduate. At the Univ. of MD, College Park, if you are not in the honors program or an athlete, it’s very hard to graduate in 4 years because they don’t have a sufficient number of classes inthe core curriculum. Now I hear that many state colleges in California have that same problem as the classes are cut back. Think of the money saved for both the student and the state if an undergraduate progems was designed to be completed in 4 years with a little bit of wiggle room. Then allow students to pay in state tuition for a certain number of units that is sufficient for a 4 year degree. After that, you pay the out of state rate. If the schoo’ls schedule of classes makes it difficult to complete a degree in the 4 years, Let the students keep the in-state rate but don’t provide state support to the school for the time beyond 4 years.
    There is another issue regarding classes and marketable majors that I thnk need to be addressed. Most schools charge students a flat fee independent of the major of the student. An English, philosophy, psychology or political science major likely takes few labs and schools can offer these majors at a much lower cost. Science and engineering majors, computer science and even nursing require expensive lab courses to properly train students. Since students with technical degrees are more likely going to get better paying jobs, would it make sense to price majors based on the cost to complete the degree? I have heard that in some states, it’s actually hard to get into the programs where the demand for graduates is greatest simply because they limit the number of people in certain majors that have a lot of lab work. That’s penny wise and pound foolish.

    • A lot of lab work also requires a lot of instructor time.

      Sean, yes, it’s hard to get into a number of California colleges if you want to major in popular majors like engineering and computer science, but I think that mostly deflects students into majors they are better prepared to tackle, or at colleges where they might be a better fit. Even if they get in, there are further weedings out in the lower division courses.

      The formal honors program at the University of California, the Regent’s and Chancellor’s Scholars, also get preferential registration for classes. A handy perk.

      Then there’s the Advanced Placement system. My son took a bunch of them in high school and it got a semester’s worth of general ed requirements out of the way at the UC. The drawback is the fiction that a high school class at a podunk high school is as rigorous as its analogue at a good university.

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