Magical Solutions to California’s Higher Education Problems

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California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown has some big ideas about how to improve public higher education in his state. According to an article by Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times:

Brown said the state’s master plan for higher education, which was created in 1960 to assure every high school graduate would have access to higher education, needs to be revisited. He called for increasing the amount of spending on colleges…. He also proposed aligning community colleges with the UC and Cal State schools to ease transfers.

How will he accomplish these goals? While Brown, a Democrat, cautions that “there is no silver bullet that will fix everything,” he also appears to provide the silver bullet. According to the article, Brown wants to increase spending on colleges by “pursuing savings in the state’s prisons.”

This idea, as I’ve pointed out before, is terrible. It’s also very difficult.

The reason California prisons are so expensive has a lot to do with the fact that California prison guards are the highest-paid in the country. This is due to the strength of their unions. How does Brown plan to take care of that little problem? That leaves what, privatizing prisons?

Meanwhile, his Republican opponent, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, has another magical “we will save colleges without raising taxes” plan for the Golden State. According to Whitman’s website, she “will invest $1 billion of the savings from her welfare and other budgetary reforms into the UC and CSU systems.” Whitman claims she can save $15 billion by cutting 40000 state jobs and spending less on social welfare programs. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer