by Tina Munoz
Governor of California, Jerry Brown outlined in his State of the State address the 2013 -14 budget for California. Many changes to the budget from previous years were proposed, but Brown spent considerable time discussing the state of K-12 and higher education.
Brown began by stating “education–the early fashioning of character and the formation of conscience–comes before legislation. Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children. If we fail at this, we will sow growing social chaos and inequality that no law can rectify. ”With the passing of voter approved Proposition 30 and 39 more money can be allocated for education. Significant in the Governor’s outline is the $125 million General Fund granted to University of California’s (UC) and California State University (CSU) to offset the raising tuitions of the past several years. Community colleges were allotted a budget of $197 million.
The $125 million falls short of the almost $400 million requested by UC and CSU, however the expenditures will be monitored closely by the state. This change was created in order to monitor and allocate expenditures to “academic facilities” and “enrollment growth and modernization” as stated in the Higher Education Budget summary.
Long gone are the days when California’s higher education system was among the best in the country. Budget cuts over the years have chipped away at the groundwork laid by the former California governor, Edmund Brown, father of the current governor, Jerry Brown. Outlined in Brown’s Budget are changes to UC, CSU and community colleges, “but tuition increases are not the answer. I will not let the students become the default financiers of our colleges and universities” stated Brown.
Along with the proposed allotment to higher education, changes within the K-12 system are meant to alleviate some of the bureaucracy within the public education system. Changes in standardized testing, alter how test results effect the funding and grades at public schools. Bureaucrats in Sacramento and Washington, far from the millions of students in California, are dictating what is taught, “I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each day, doing the real work, lighting fires in young minds,” stated a critical Brown. Reform in the public schools would constitute an overhaul of California’s entire educational system with emphasis on math, science and technology suggested Brown.
Brown continued “A half million fewer students this year enrolled in the community colleges than in 2008. Graduation in four years is the exception and transition from one segment to the other is difficult. But tuition increases are not the answer…We have a funding system that is overly complex, bureaucratically driven and deeply inequitable. That is the state of affairs today.”
A detailed Budget for Higher Education and K-12 Education can be found on www.ebudget.ca.gov.