Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Feeling the impact

My classes don't start until next week. I'm anxious to get back into the classroom. But I'm already hearing harrowing tales from other universities about the impact of the worsening economic crisis.

California, with a $26-billion budget deficit, is at the epicenter. State universities are facing the worst budget crisis in history. Tuition rates are skyrocketing, making post-secondary ed inaccessible to many students. Returning Cal State Fullerton, students found swelled classrooms, the result of teacher layoffs. Their school has been hit with a $33.7 million (about 11%) cut in its budget.

The lack of class availability has caused problems for many students, including seniors who are planning on graduating during the fall or spring semesters. “Many of the classes I was looking forward to taking since I started at CSUF aren’t being offered anymore,” stated Christa Connelly, 21, a photo communications major. “If I can’t get the classes I need next semester, it could push back my graduation date until who knows when.”

Reform vs. privatization

The Arizona Republic ran a debate on that topic between Arizona State prof Gene Glass debates right-wing think-tanker Jay Greene:
If not stopped, this privatization of the public system will leave behind a generation of Americans to intellectually wither in underfunded neighborhood schools, short on supplies and qualified teachers, said Glass, who examines this debate in his latest book "Fertilizers, Pills and Magnetic Strips: The Fate of Public Education in America."

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