By Karen Sloan
Police officers in Portland, Ore., pushed people away from a park encampment on Sunday. The protesters were later driven out.
BERKELEY, Calif. — Goodbye, city park, hello, college green.
As city officials around the country move to disband Occupy Wall Street encampments amid growing concerns over health and public safety, protesters have begun to erect more tents on college campuses.
“We are trying to get mass numbers of students out,” said Natalia Abrams, 31, a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and an organizer with Occupy Colleges, a national group coordinating college-based protesters.
Though only a handful of colleges have encampments, tents went up last week at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and here at the University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, protesters in California have vowed to occupy dozens of other campuses in the coming days.
Last Wednesday at Berkeley, about 3,000 people gathered on Sproul Plaza to protest tuition increases, and many then set up a camp. Demonstrators linked arms to protect their tents, but police officers broke through and took down more than a dozen tents, arresting about 40 protesters. Read more…
By Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou, EGP Staff Writer
More than 700 people descended on Commerce this past weekend with one mission in mind – getting to college in one piece.
The annual Commerce to College Fair attracted motivated middle-schoolers, as well as people over the age of 40 looking to brush up on their professional skills. But the often complicated, expensive and stressful process of getting to college was felt the most by students in their junior or senior year of high school.
These college-bound students will be working through holiday festivities and regular schoolwork, either studying for their SATs and ACTs, or working on essays and applications for University of California and Cal State schools, due November 30, and for private colleges, due in January.
High school senior Rebecca Espinoza said the magnitude of the college application process only just hit her this year. “It’s really stressful, because it’s all happening so fast,” she said. Read more…
Montreux Energy’s 7th annual California Clean Energy Roundtable continues as an invitation-only, interactive stakeholder workshop featuring many recognized experts, thought leaders and stakeholders from industry, government, academia, research and investment to discuss the future of clean, low-carbon power and transportation in California. Read more…
A major study on teacher quality makes clear just how sclerotic the Los Angeles Unified School District has become—but while the diagnosis and prescriptions are clear, the prognosis is far from certain. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s 58-page report, “Teacher Quality Roadmap: Improving Policies and Practices in LAUSD,” was commissioned by the United Way and several civil rights groups and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While the report focuses on Los Angeles, many of its findings are applicable to other school districts around California, where collective bargaining agreements have hamstrung administrators and state laws supersede local policies.
Such studies are vital because they spotlight problems and prescribe a course of action, but they’re only half the battle. The other half, of course, requires implementing needed reforms. New LAUSD superintendent John Deasy welcomed the report, but he knows as well as anyone that the most effective reforms would require fundamentally revising the district’s collective bargaining agreement with the United Teachers of Los Angeles—something that the union and its bought-and-paid-for board of education are simply unwilling to do.
The report, published in June, urges major changes to the union contract and to state law. Teacher evaluations should be overhauled, along with tenure rules and work schedules. Rules should be changed that assign teachers to particular schools based on seniority considerations. Compensation should reward performance, not just advanced degrees and years of experience. Another prescription would incorporate standardized test scores into teacher evaluations—a reform already in effect in Washington, D.C., Florida, Maryland, and Colorado. And the report recommends delaying tenure or permanent status until a teacher has been in a classroom for four years, instead of the two years the current contract stipulates. Read more…
Students near Royce Hall on the UCLA campus in Westwood (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
For the first time, the total amount that University of California students pay in tuition this year will surpass the funding the prestigious public university receives from the state. It is a historic shift for the UC system and part of a national trend that is changing the nature of public higher education.
Propelled by budget crises in California and elsewhere, the burden of paying for education at a public college or university, once heavily subsidized by taxpayers, is shifting to students and their families.
At UC, the changes are prompting soul-searching among administrators, alumni, students and others about whether the 10-campus, 230,000-student system is at a crossroads.
Some say the university must choose among facets of its long-standing public mission — to offer a widely accessible, moderately priced and high-quality education to California’s young people — as it supports itself increasingly through tuition, private fundraising and growing numbers of out-of-state students.
“It’s a significant moment,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, an umbrella group for the nation’s major universities.
Compared with other states that already have passed most educational costs to students, California historically has kept tuition low and provided generous support for higher education. But now, Hartle said, the Golden State is becoming more like others in the view that students are the main beneficiaries of a college education and should bear most of the cost. Read more…
State Controller John Chiang, right, looks on as then-Gov.-elect Jerry Brown speaks at an education budget briefing in December. The state budget calls for drastic, automatic school cuts if tax revenues don’t meet expectations. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times / December 14, 2010)
The bad news, announced Tuesday, came less than two months after Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers patched together a budget on the assumption that a budding economic recovery would produce a $4-billion revenue windfall. Those hopes are now fading.
The plunge occurred before the recent Wall Street gyrations that wiped away many of the year’s stock-market gains. If the economy remains sluggish and the $4 billion does not materialize, cuts in public schools, universities, libraries, child care, and services for the elderly and frail will automatically take effect. Read more…
Eighteen-year-old Mindy Martin wants answers about her future at College of the Sequoias. So, Monday night, the freshman took the initiative to attend a forum designed to answer some of her questions.
Where she goes from here is up to her. But how long it takes to get there may be up to the college and the state’s budget woes.
The college, like community colleges across the state, has cut classes by as much as 15 percent and trimmed its budget by more than $2 million.
Nonetheless, Martin plans on sticking with her plans despite educators revealing nothing surprising ìì classes will be full and there will be fewer classes to choose from.
“I want to know the future. I know classes will be limited, but the most pressing issue is will classes be available?” Martin said. “My dream is to open a restaurant and with a business degree I can go anywhere.”
Martin’s mother, Karen Davenport, says her daughter’s education is a priority, despite Davenport recently losing her job and going back to school. But, after being denied financial aid, Martin is taking slightly more than a full-time class load, while her mother is taking just one class to keep costs down. Read more…
Every time the California State University system raises its tuition — and that is happening with increased regularity lately — you can count on some cheerful trustee or well-paid employee to say, “Yes, but it’s still a great bargain.”
After tuition for Chico State University and the other 22 CSU campuses rose by 5 percent for the spring semester, they’ll skyrocket an astonishing 22 percent for the fall semester, which starts next month.
The tuition at Chico State will be $6,882 annually. It has nearly doubled in the four years most seniors have been on campus.
They started by paying $3,690 as freshmen. It would take a math major to figure out the rise over the past 30 years. In 1981, it cost $220 a year to go to school at Chico State.
But the 86 percent increase in the last four years has been tremendous and unprecedented. Even before the massive hike this year, the tuition increase has earned national notoriety. The U.S. Department of Education issued comparative lists last week showing college pricing and affordability. Read more…
Give credit to Solano Community College Superintendent/President Jowel Laguerre. He’s in tough negotiations with employee groups at the college as he struggles to close a $2 million budget gap — and that was before the state lopped another $100 million from the overall community college budget.
But at the June 30 meeting of the SCC Governing Board, President Laguerre did what too many public leaders refuse to do: He led by example, agreeing to take eight furlough days, give up his fundraising entertainment budget and forego a scheduled raise.
The $15,780.50 savings represents a 6.4 percent bite out of his monetary package and a 5 percent cut to his overall compensation. It is also but a drop in the $2 million bucket. Yet it gives the college president credibility when he asks instructors and staff to work for less or tells students they will have to pay more even as class options are becoming increasingly limited.
More presidents of public colleges and universities throughout California need to take a page from President Laguerre’s playbook if they expect to close their own ever-growing budget gaps.
The recently adopted state budget cut a total of $400 million to the community colleges and $650 million each to the California State University and University of California systems.
All colleges had been expecting some cuts, and tuition hikes had already been approved for this fall. Community college fees are scheduled to rise from $26 to $36 per unit, while tuition will jump by 8 percent in the UC system and 10 percent for CSU students. Read more…
The United States is walking a path to greater diversity. And younger people are leading the way.
In eight additional states — Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Maryland and Hawaii — white children are in the minority compared with peers from other racial and ethnic groups combined, according to data analyzed by William Frey at the Brookings Institution.
The number of white children in the United States actually shrank by 4.3 million kids from 2000 to 2010, according to the analysis.
Meanwhile, the number of Hispanic and Asian children grew by a total of 5.5 million. Hispanics made up the bulk of this growth.
“Were it not for Hispanics, the nation’s child population would have declined,” Frey writes in his report, titled “America’s Diverse Future.” Read more…
By Brody Mullins
Mr. Shuman said the organization was spawned after a meeting with Mr. Perry about six weeks ago. “This guy should be president,” Mr. Shuman said afterwards.
University of California Berkeley student Dior Sweeney poses for a photograph on the campus. California college students could see bigger tuition bills but fewer courses and services after lawmakers passed a state budget that slashes spending on higher education.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California college students are bracing for higher tuition bills and fewer courses and campus services under a new state budget that once again slashes spending on higher education.
The budget signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown inflicts the latest blow to California’s renowned higher education system, which has helped make the state an economic powerhouse and served as a model for other states and countries.
Over the past three years, California’s public colleges and universities have seen deep cuts in state funding that have dramatically raised the cost of attendance, forced campuses to turn away qualified students and eroded the quality of classroom instruction.
Under the newly approved state budget, the 10-campus University of California and 23-campus California State University will each lose at least $650 million in state funding, a cut of more than 20 percent. The two systems could each face another $100 million cut if the state takes in less revenue than expected.
The 112-campus community college system will lose $400 million in state funding and fees will increase from $26 to $36 per unit. The system could lose another $72 million and raise fees to $46 per unit if revenue projections fall short.
UC officials said Friday they will recommend that the Board of Regents consider raising undergraduate tuition by an additional 9.6 percent to offset the deeper-than-expected funding cut. Tuition is already set to rise 8 percent this fall to about $12,000, about three times what students paid a decade ago.
In an interview with The Associated Press, UC President Mark Yudof said higher tuition will cause hardship for many students, but he sees little choice when the university faces a $1 billion budget shortfall driven by rising costs and shrinking public support.
His biggest worry is losing the academic talent that has made UC one of the world’s top research universities, Yudof said. UC San Diego recently lost three star scientists to Rice University, a deep-pocketed private institution in Houston.
“You can’t starve this university for many years without there being consequences,” Yudof said. “There’s going to be a lot of pain. I don’t deny that. But on my watch we’re not going to see a dilution of the quality of the University of California.”
The prospect of rising tuition is weighing heavily on students like Dior Sweeney, a UC Berkeley senior who works two jobs while going to school but still expects to graduate with more than $20,000 in student loans to repay. Read more…
While public universities tend to be a cheaper option for students, attending a public school out of your home state can still be an expensive venture, according to tuition and required fee data provided by schools to U.S. News in a 2010 survey of undergraduate programs.
In all, 452 of the 573 public institutions surveyed provided tuition and fee data for out-of-state students. And while the average out-of-state student at a public institution paid $16,678 in tuition and required fees in the 2010-11 school year, students at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, the school with the most expensive out-of-state tuition and fees, paid $36,163. The average cost of tuition and fees at the 10 most expensive universities for out-of-state students (see list below) was $34,290 in the 2010-11 academic year.
Of the top 10 most expensive public schools for out-of-state students, eight are located in California, and six of those are ranked in the top 50 of U.S. News‘s rankings of national universities. These highly ranked California schools, including the University of California—Los Angeles and the University of California—Berkeley, aren’t among the most expensive schools for in-state students, and make up the difference—like many other schools—by charging out-of-state students a premium. Read more…
California’s public school teachers are the highest paid in the country, earning about $63,000 a year on average, along with generous health-insurance and pension plans. Their salaries and benefits are funded with taxes paid by all of us—workers, consumers, homeowners, and businesses large and small. It’s useful to think of taxpayers as owners of our troubled public education franchise, which has a statewide high school dropout rate of about 30 percent. And for many of those who do graduate from high school and go on to college, remediation is essential. Value-added teacher evaluation—a method that estimates the contribution teachers make to student’s test-score gains—is a concept whose time has most definitely come. Californians are entitled to know precisely who is and isn’t delivering the goods for their children.
The Los Angeles Times last month published a much-anticipated follow-up to its path-breaking 2010 investigation, which ranked 6,000 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade teachers based on their students’ progress on standardized tests year after year. The updated rankings include data for more than 11,500 teachers. Using the California Public Records Act, Times reporters Jason Felch, Jason Song, and Doug Smith obtained student math and language arts scores for the Los Angeles Unified School District from 2003 through 2009. The newspaper commissioned Richard Budden, a senior economist and education researcher with the Santa Monica–based RAND Corporation, to analyze the data. Using the value-added technique, he converted the scores into percentile ratings, and then divided them into five equal categories from “least effective” to “most effective.” Read more…
The crisis in Los Angeles public schools — where only about half of the students graduate from high school and fewer than 30% of those who do are college-ready — can’t be solved until we make excellent teaching a top priority. Teacher quality alone can’t solve the problem, but every child in every school in every neighborhood must have an effective teacher.
A study released last week by the National Council on Teacher Quality calls attention to just how dramatically we are failing when it comes to recruiting, training, evaluating and compensating teachers. Great teaching doesn’t just happen. Great teachers — and the Los Angeles schools have many of them — are made, not born, and public education needs to support, encourage and reward their development. But there are impediments to doing so. Read more…
The Linda Republican often points to the state’s relatively lax regulatory structure and business-friendly climate as a model California should follow. Last month, he led a mostly Republican delegation of California lawmakers on a “fact finding” trip to Texas to learn more about its job creation strategies.
Now he’s looking to make the governor who brags of poaching California companies the nation’s commander in chief, announcing the creation of the Committee to Draft Rick Perry for President. Read more…
Across the country, governors are taking back America, piecing together a country weakened by the wealth-destroying policies of Barack Obama.
AUSTIN, Tex.—The same week in April that a delegation of government officials from beleaguered California came to Texas to examine the state’s sound economy, Republican Gov. Rick Perry announced deals with three major corporations, creating new jobs in the Lone Star State. Read more…
The Failure of American Schools By Joel Klein, The Atlantic
Joel Klein in Brooklyn on the first day of school, two months before he resigned as chancellor.
Who better to lead an educational revolution than Joel Klein, the prosecutor who took on the software giant Microsoft? But in his eight years as chancellor of New York City’s school system, the nation’s largest, Klein learned a few painful lessons of his own—about feckless politicians, recalcitrant unions, mediocre teachers, and other enduring obstacles to school reform.
Three years ago, in a New York Times article detailing her bid to become head of the American Federation of Teachers union, Randi Weingarten boasted that despite my calls for “radical reform” to New York City’s school system, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and I had achieved only “incremental” change. It seemed like a strange thing to crow about, but she did have something of a point. New York over the past nine years has experienced what Robert Schwartz, the dean of Harvard’s education school, has described as “the most dramatic and thoughtful set of large-scale reforms going on anywhere in the country,” resulting in gains such as a nearly 20-point jump in graduation rates. But the city’s school system is still not remotely where it needs to be. Read more…
By JULIET WILLIAMS
In a letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged those businesses to flee California as lawmakers threaten to dis-incorporate the city of 90 people where the city manager makes more than $211,000 a year.
“As the state of California continues to support legislation that causes undue burden and taxation on companies doing business in the Los Angeles area, I invite you to consider your future in America’s new land of opportunity: the state of Texas,” Perry wrote to nearly 70 businesses in the letter dated Tuesday.