Arts, Culture & Humanities

Good news and bad news for higher education

Rosemary Joyce

I am writing this blog post from London, where today, students and faculty mobilized in fierce protest against the British government’s proposed — and now officially passed — plan to raise fees for university, to about $14,000 a year, tripling what fees were up till now.

Meanwhile, the education news from California, where annual undergraduate tuition already is close to the new British fees, centers on proposals by the UC “Commission on the Future” to stave off budget deficits in the future by encouraging students to complete their undergraduate degree in three years– at the admitted cost of breadth, extracurricular activities, and study abroad– and to increase the number of students from outside California and those taking UC courses of study over the internet.

Nor is the bad news just fee increases for students. In Britain, even with fee increases, programmatic cuts threaten universities and disciplines, including archaeology. In the US, language majors at places like the University of New York at Albany  have already fallen victim to cuts.

All throughout the world, it seems, governments facing difficult financial times have been pulling back from their commitment to support access to college education for a broader population, something that was not traditional in the US or Great Britain before World War II.

While colleagues here have uniformly expressed their pride in the vocal and articulate cries of protest by their students, this has not been enough to fuel much optimism. Here, as in the US, it seems like the vocation of combined research and teaching that occupies university faculty has fallen on hard times, becoming an easy target for political grandstanding and claims by governments that some things once valued have now become superfluous or simply too expensive.

Certainly, the critical voices on the Berkeley Blog that chime in loudly whenever I or others argue for the need to continue supporting higher education don’t give me reason to think that university education, and the people who make it possible, have the support of the public.

Which is what made it so very interesting to see the results of an Associated Press poll, in conjunction with Stanford University, that covered a number of hot issues in higher education.

First, the good news: there is

overwhelming agreement that there is a link between the nation’s prosperity and the quality of its education system

with 88% of those polled agreeing, reportedly an increase from 76% over the last two years. The poll found that 80% of respondents believed that the US economy would benefit if everyone graduated from college.

Positive opinions of public universities were high, the highest of any institution of higher education: 74% of those polled rated public universities excellent or good.

But those opinions don’t translate into willingness to fund public higher education sufficiently to make that ideal a reality. Less than half of those surveyed– 42%– supported “raising taxes to pay for better education”.

As long as this personality split persists, universities will be trapped in an untenable position. We can pride ourselves on the positive opinion the public has of universities, especially public universities, and the value the public sees in university education.

But until those very same people line up in support of funding university education, we will continue to face demoralizing challenges, challenges that are leading to student uprisings in defense of education.

And maybe that’s the good news hidden in this bad news: students remembering that they have political power, if they choose to use it in future elections; students who someday will be taxpayers who may, we can hope, be less confused about cause and effect than the minority of the majority who, while prizing higher education, aren’t willing to pay for it.

Bookmark and Share
Comments to "Good news and bad news for higher education":
    • Milan Moravec

      Gov. Brown’s inauguration $100,000: UC Berkeley consultants hired by Chancellor Birgeneau $3,000,000. Anyone notice Calif. is in recession?
      When UC Berkeley recently announced its elimination of baseball, men’s, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
      But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found by Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste, inefficiencies in UC Berkeley (Cal), despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was accomplishing the same thing without expensive consultants.
      Essentially, the process requires collecting, analyzing information from faculty, staff. Apparently, Cal senior management believe that the faculty, staff of their world-class university lacks the cognitive ability, integrity, energy to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor has lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated to $150 million. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (‘They told me to do it’, Birgeneau), credibility, trust, problems remain.
      Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and academic senate leaders to identify $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

      Students, staff, faculty, California Legislators are the victims of his incompetent decisions. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni, benefactors, donors, will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year while abdicating his work responsibilities.

      Let there be light.

      The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.

      [Report abuse]

    • Milan Moravec

      Response to Ms Rosemary Joyce. I beg to differ on your opinion that the senior management of Cal. are not contributors to Cal’s financial and management mess. Funding will not solve Cal’s leadership problems. Pointing the finger at Sacramento as the only problem is a case of denial and is unwarrented, unnecessary, and confuses Californians Ms.Rosemary Joice. Here’s an example of the the evidence Ms. Joyce. Incompetence of Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer, Vice-Chancellor Yeary remains unchecked by students, faculty, Cal Alumni, President Yudof, Board of Regents Gould and the Cal legislature.
      University of California Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.
      A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.
      It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.
      In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donors, benefactors await the transformation. The senior management operates author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way senior management work.

      [Report abuse]

    • You are entitled to your opinions, but you are not, as the saying goes, entitled to your own facts.

      Your previous comment claimed, falsely, that UC Berkeley had declined dramatically in international rankings, a claim supported only by leaving out the most recent year’s information (and ignoring the controversy about the previous year’s ranking methodology). I refuted that, and you have nothing to say about my actual reply.

      Here’s another fact you are avoiding acknowledging: UC Berkeley– in common with the University of California as a whole– suffered a series of historically unprecedented budget cuts over the past two years. To claim that this is not the main cause of the university’s current and recent economic difficulties is to ignore facts. It is these cuts to the university budget that were actually singled out for comment by the Times Higher Education report I cited.

      Now in this latest comment, you simply repeat and expand on your opinions about Berkeley management, prefacing them with the words “here’s an example of the evidence”.

      What evidence? All you offer is a claim to speak from authority as a “senior management operates author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way senior management work”.

      Well, as far as I can tell, you briefly taught at Berkeley as a lecturer in a management program (the only evidence I can find is a syllabus for a single course). I have been a tenured faculty member here, full time, since 1994 (so in future attacks, please address me as Professor Joyce).

      I would be happy to match observations of the actual workings of Berkeley if you care to abandon your empty and information-free attacks on people and offer even one real observation– one fact, not opinion–about how the university runs.

      But until then, I will not be trying to engage with your vague generalizations, and will confine myself to examining the claims you make about the university that can be debated with more than opinion to back them up.

      [Report abuse]

    • Milan Moravec

      The signs of University of California Berkeley’s relative decline are clear. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked UC Berkeley the second leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place. Source Forbes.
      It’s become clear that Cal. senior management, Provost Breslauer & Chancellor Birgeneau and their Vice -Chancellors, have provided ample reasons for Californians to question their competency to lead.
      If Californians, the Board of Regents, Cal Alunmi, benifactors and the legislature want to restore integrity to Cal’s leadership and financial stability to Cal, Californians must act now.

      [Report abuse]

    • This would be what we might call “the big lie” tactic. The first question to ask is, why did Milan Moravec chose to compare 2004 and 2009? this ranking is produced every year. So what’s the most recent data?

      Well, for 2010, the Times Higher Education survey ranked Berkeley #8– the highest placement for any public university in the world. (The universities ranked higher were all private universities, which charge higher tuition, enroll fewer students, and have, as I know from my years as a Harvard faculty member, far lower workloads.)

      The 2009 rankings were in fact critiqued precisely because of the suspiciously low number of US universities in the top ranks, and Inside Higher Education identified the methodology used as overly reliant on “reputational” measures– basically, what people’s opinions are, unrelated to any data. The 2010 survey followed an overhaul of the methods used.

      So selecting 2009 instead of 2010 is pretty much a good way to misrepresent the picture.

      The article accompanying the new rankings did raise a warning flag for Berkeley, but it was not due to management; it was due to the radical push to disinvest in the university:

      “American universities, particularly the great public research universities led by the University of California, Berkeley, are facing deep budget cuts that, if continued, will damage their competitiveness in the long run and their status in future rankings”

      [Report abuse]

    • Perhaps predictably (since, as I said in this post, it is the anti-public education comments that can always be dependend on here) the comments that have accumulated while I continued my own work represent the gamut of arguments against funding public education. Unfortunately, I do not have the time at this busy point in the year to even try to point out the many factual problems with the comments made here, or to debate the opinions expressed in any detail.

      But let’s add a little reality check. Anyone who went to a public university in the past had their education subsidized (in part) by other people, because even now, fees paid as tuition do not cover all the costs. This is done as an investment in having an educated population. Even many educational loans taken out by individuals were in part paid for by other people’s taxes– government subsidies to persuade private companies to make loans to students included.

      So if you have ever taken advantage of public higher education, you owe a debt to someone else. Not being willing to pay it forward is a defect in community spirit.

      Universities are not easily compared economically to most businesses familiar to most people. (If you want more details, read some of my previous posts on this topic, referencing a wide range of research articles.) Universities recruit highly educated people and employ them to perform the miracle of promoting knowledge, and that means they belong to a class of enterprises that are inherently expensive.

      For all the talk about cutting inefficiencies that gets kicked around when critics attack public higher education, practically the only concrete thing people seem to mention is using computer-assisted instruction. That is not less expensive unless you ignore the costs of developing good courses, and of continuing to teach them in ways that ensure that students learning that way do not end up short-changed in instruction and learning.

      The underlying question is, does society have an interest in increasing the number of people who have the opportunity to complete a college education? The poll I cited says that the vast majority of US respondents said yes– college education is a worthwhile social good, one so worthwhile that they felt the economy would be helped if everyone could finish college.

      Once you accept the idea that society has interests in common goals– such as having an educated citizenry– then responses like the ones seen here make absolutely no sense. And that is the point I was making, which (regrettably) these responses have only underlined: there needs to be a realization that public higher education is a great social bargain– both in the sense of being a worthwhile thing to agree to; and being worth more than it costs, and worth funding.

      [Report abuse]

    • Aaron

      If the social purpose in supporting public education is to increase “the number of people who have the opportunity to complete a college education” then providing extensive subsidies to public research universities is a poor use of scarce resources. Students who attend public research universities are drawn disproportionately from households in the higher end of the income distribution. Many of these students have parents who can pay higher fees and, if not, they will still generally find it worthwhile to finance their education by borrowing.

      If the goal to increase the supply of college graduates, a far more efficient solution is to charge a market rate of tuition and provide generous financial aid to those who cannot afford to pay the market rate. The result is that people pay according to their ability to pay. This is what private research universities do and it makes a lot of sense. When the state of California subsidizes the college education of the children of attorneys, physicians, accountants and other professionals, it is doing very little to increase the stock of college graduates. All that is happening here is that the upper middle class gets to pass the buck along to families that are not fortunate enough to send their children to Berkeley or UCLA.

      If the goal is to increase the number of college graduates, then public support for the Cal State system makes a whole lot more sense than support for the University of California.

      [Report abuse]

      • No one is arguing that higher education has a single social purpose. The phrase you quote is from my summary of a public opinion poll which showed that an overwhelming number of respondents thought it would be good for the US if everyone had a college degree.

        Funding public universities is a social good for a lot of reasons, and research universities in particular serve the public both as teaching institutions and as sources of new knowledge. Some of this knowledge later is taken up by business and industry. Corporations acknowledge that they cannot afford to do the open-ended, basic research on which they capitalize. Not that all research in research universities has this kind of commercial potential. Most research in arts, humanities and social sciences is a social good because it helps us understand the world we live in, where it came from, and where it might be going.

        Your arguments about the undergraduate student composition of research universities are unsourced, and from experience and actual data, I would say unfounded. UC Berkeley is not just full of children of “attorneys, physicians, accountants and other professionals” (although there is no reason that these members of the public, who also are tax-payers, shouldn’t send their children to public universities).

        The Berkeley undergraduate student profile shows that 47% of undergraduates received need-based financial aid; and 33% were eligible for Pell grants.

        Want more evidence that Berkeley’s student population is economically diverse? Try these facts:

        63% of entering freshman in 2010 were from California public high schools

        25.1% were first generation college students with neither parent having a four-year college degree

        66% of entering freshmen in fall 2009 had at least one parent born outside the U.S.

        And, most remarkably, the grade point average for the highly diverse freshmen admitted in 2010 was 4.19– on a 4.0 scale.

        What has historically happened in California, and other states where public higher education was well-supported, is that people from families without a tradition of college education received the opportunity to learn from leading researchers and to learn how to become researchers themselves. That has been the engine of progress in the state.

        It is worth continued support so the next generation of California’s college-age students can become the next generation of California’s scientists, doctors, lawyers, and yes, even accountants.

        [Report abuse]

        • Aaron

          Professor Joyce,

          First let me be explicit about precisely who benefits from public university subsidies (and who is unaffected by fee increases) in California. Consider the following three families and their costs of attending either Stanford or Berkeley, two educational investments that do not have drastically different economic and social payoffs:

          Stanford Berkeley
          Family A (income $60,000/yr) FREE FREE
          Family B (income $90,000/yr) FREE $12,460
          Family C (income $200,000/yr) $38,700 $12,460

          Which university offers a tuition scheme that is less burdensome to the poor/working class/middle class? This is not difficult to see. Berkeley is not a bargain for the family making under $100,000 but it’s a damn good bargain for the children of bankers, attorneys and doctors, those families who can afford to pay more and should pay more.

          Second, it is not necessary to source any statistics summarizing Berkeley’s student body to make the argument I am making. Why? Because lower income families (including the vast, vast majority receiving Pell Grants) do not pay fees at Berkeley anyway. When the fees rise, these families are unaffected. The families who are affected are those that make a minimum of $70,000 (soon to be $80,000) per year. Not to mention the fact that the benefits of a Berkeley education are more than worth a loan. As an undergraduate student at another university, I amassed approximately $40,000 in debt. I consider this a bargain.

          Regarding the many, many Berkeley students who had a parent born outside the United States, this is a nice reminder of the degree to which immigrants and the children of immigrants are able to succeed in this country and the degree to which the American Dream is still alive today, contrary to what we hear from many corners of academia.

          Third, it is undoubtedly true that public research universities offer a myriad of benefits to the state of California beyond the education they provide to undergraduate students. However, it is far from clear that massive subsidies to public education are the most efficient way to reap these benefits.

          Finally, it is important to consider the counterfactual when making assertions about the contributions of the University of California to the state and the nation. Were it not for Berkeley, would it be the case that the university’s nearly 400,000 living alumni would not have received a college education? Of course not. Berkeley provides an education to an enormous number of students but it also crowds out other educational opportunities that would have existed in its absence. There is no way to know what Berkeley’s net contribution has been but there are a number of reasons to think that a tuition pricing model that is more similar to that of Stanford would be more efficient, equitable and sustainable in what will, for a long time, be an era of public deficits.

          [Report abuse]

    • Emanuelle Goldstein

      “the minority of the majority who, while prizing higher education, aren’t willing to pay for it.”

      I prize higher education. I had to pay for mine myself. I paid a substantial price–money that I could have spent on a nice car, vacations abroad, a house, etc. I’m still paying off my Stafford loans ten years later.

      As a taxpayer, I’m now being asked to subsidize everyone else’s education. A college diploma is not a guarantee of future success, wealth or happiness. If other people want the privilege of going to college (and yes, it is a “privilege” and not a “right”), then they should be willing to sacrifice in order to get the degree they desire.

      [Report abuse]

    • Aaron

      The individuals who benefit most directly from a UC education are UC students. A UC education yields both pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits that will last a lifetime. It is an investment worth taking out a loan to finance (and it is worth repeating that students from households with income under $70,000 attend at no cost).

      The cost of a UC education is a lot more than $14,000 — someone has to pay the difference. It is fine and dandy to parrot out broad platitudes about the link between the quality of education and a nation’s prosperity but the reality is that public research universities are costly. Students can always “exercise their political power” and try to pass the buck to some other California resident who is not fortunate enough to attend a UC school (most aren’t!). But a far more efficient and equitable solution is for students to shoulder more of the burden in financing an education that will ultimately lead them to be among the most privileged citizens in our society.

      [Report abuse]

    • atul

      The problem persists all over the world. The leaders once chosen to lead the country follow their own policies and are turning out to be corrupt to fill their pockets and raise taxes on the lower and middle strata of the society. Or without the subsidy given to the lower and middle classes thereby making it expensive to make a decent living and in this education

      [Report abuse]

    • James R

      “overwhelming agreement that there is a link between the nation’s prosperity and the quality of its education system”

      No, there is overwhelming correlation between average national IQ and prosperity, according to Richard Lynn who wrote “IQ and the Wealth of Nations.” Look it up in any UC Psychology Dept Library. In America, there is exactly no correlation between the quality of its education system and the performance of its students.

      Third world immigration and socialism has bankrupted California. I warned friends that UC would rapidly become an unaffordable luxury as the welfare roles swelled with illiterate immigrants while the tax roles dwindled because of white flight. Voters chose wisely at the crossroads by passing Prop 187, but a reconquista judge shelved it, and California’s worst governor refused to defend it. So here we are at the moment of truth.

      I’m not surprised.

      [Report abuse]

    • The quote is from the news article and summarizes the results of the current poll, which showed that there was overwhelming agreement about the link between the quality of the educational system and national economic prosperity.

      The rest of your views are about the best summary of what is wrong with extremist views in this state: a toxic mix of anti-immigrant rhetoric and misconceptions about the state economy, which was set on a collision course by the passage of Proposition 13, not by the failure of Proposition 187.

      [Report abuse]

      • James R

        The old “Prop 13 wrecked California” saw. Property values in CA have skyrocketed filling state coffers to bursting. Local and state revenues have more than kept up with demographic growth and inflation. In addition, most school districts have a workaround — parcel taxes and bonds — which they put on ballots so frequently that you can expect your property taxes in the Bay Area to nearly double every 10 – 15 years. But for all the money California dumps into public education, we rank near the bottom in student performance.

        Professor Joyce wants to pretend that it has nothing to do with the rapid rise of the Mexican immigrant population with all their assorted problems, but it’s right under my nose every day and I pay for it in various ways. I have to pay for more law enforcement because of the crime illiterate immigrants bring to CA. School construction bonds, high auto insurance premiums, high health insurance premiums and doctor costs to subsidize hospitals for indigent care, high state taxes to pay for MediCal and Cal Works, and about $17 billion dollars worth of other welfare programs, mostly going to poor immigrants. On top of that, I need to pay close to $25K a year per child to educate my kids in safe private schools with highly educated and motivated teachers — to keep them away from Latino violence and classroom disruption.

        I feel I deserve to be heard. I’m knowledgeable about what’s happening in CA, I’ve lived here for two decades, and I have seen our quality of life seriously compromised by a failed narco state south of the border dumping its poor on our foolishly generous welfare and education system.

        [Report abuse]

        • James, I don’t generally engage with your slurs on immigrants because there is obviously no point– you are not interested in real data or studies that don’t agree with what you want desperately to believe– that you can justify contempt for an entire group of people by a spurious economic argument.

          Moreover, you have a dangerous tendency to blur together all immigrants, regardless of whether they entered the country entirely legally or not. So this is clearly not about the costs associated with undocumented immigrants (where, yet again, the actual research I have cited over and over refutes your claims, and only right wing blogs that play fast and loose with the facts support you). This is about an attitude that labels all immigrants– or, as you slip here and admit, specifically those from Mexico– as violent, criminal, indigents.

          I hope others reading your comment think about whether, even if they disagree with the points I am making (which you never ever actually engage with), they want to be associated with this kind of broad stroke attack on an entire group of people. This is the lowest form of prejudice, and the actual student population of the University of California, with many many high-achieving first and second generation Latino students, is the best refutation of your hate speech that exists.

          And yes: Proposition 13 wrecked the state’s ability to function economically. The sources demonstrating this range from the technical to the popular (for the less technical, try this Time magazine article; for a more technical analysis, this report from the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California).

          Rising property values cannot make up for the inability to work around the mistakes at the core of Proposition 13. Proposition 13 choked off funding for counties, and the state took on a greater role in what would previously have been local funding issues. As the PPIC report linked to above notes, “For the first time in the state’s history, the state was put in charge of allocating the proceeds of the locally levied property tax”. The state became responsible for filling the local budget gaps opened up by Proposition 13, which means the state budget inevitably rose to ensure basic services could be delivered by counties, at least at some relatively low level.

          Moreover, because Proposition 13 effectively blocks rational, locally-controlled ways of raising local revenue with the two-thirds requirement for any new levy, all sorts of new, complex, and sometimes much less desireable ways of getting funding to the local level have been developed. Again, to quote the PPIC,

          “Perhaps the most important insight that can be gained from the passage of Proposition 13 is that blunt initiatives lead to the development of other ways of getting things done. These other ways are usually more complex, more expensive, and typically are not discussed in public forums in ways that are intelligible to the public and elected officials.”

          California’s legislature patched together thirty years of bad fixes to a bad law. Meanwhile, the voices of rabid anti-taxation forces continue to oppose any alternative ways of providing public financing. So now we are at a moment when Californians have to decide: do you want a state that ranks 49th in such areas as education? or do you want to continue to have the wealth and creativity that once made the state a success? If the latter, then we all have to accept that the social good requires social investment.

          [Report abuse]

          • James R

            “James, I don’t generally engage with your slurs on immigrants because there is obviously no point– you are not interested in real data or studies that don’t agree with what you want desperately to believe– that you can justify contempt for an entire group of people by a spurious economic argument.”

            Well, then respond to Victor David Hanson, fellow at the Hoover Institute:

            “Over a hundred-mile stretch, when I stopped in San Joaquin for a bottled water, or drove through Orange Cove, or got gas in Parlier, or went to a corner market in southwestern Selma, my home town, I was the only non-Hispanic — there were no Asians, no blacks, no other whites. We may speak of the richness of “diversity,” but those who cherish that ideal simply have no idea that there are now countless inland communities that have become near-apartheid societies, where Spanish is the first language, the schools are not at all diverse, and the federal and state governments are either the main employers or at least the chief sources of income — whether through emergency rooms, rural health clinics, public schools, or social-service offices. An observer from Mars might conclude that our elites and masses have given up on the ideal of integration and assimilation, perhaps in the wake of the arrival of 11 to 15 million illegal aliens.

            Again, I do not editorialize, but I note these vast transformations over the last 20 years that are the paradoxical wages of unchecked illegal immigration from Mexico, a vast expansion of California’s entitlements and taxes, the flight of the upper middle class out of state, the deliberate effort not to tap natural resources, the downsizing in manufacturing and agriculture, and the departure of whites, blacks, and Asians from many of these small towns to more racially diverse and upscale areas of California.”

            http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/255320/two-californias-victor-davis-hanson

            As for Prof Joyce’s rigmarole about Prop 13 I invite readers to visit http://www.hjta.org/, the website for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association. Joyce is parroting a new trope by lefties that Prop 13 turned all the power and decision making over schools to the state, which is utterly false; the State Supreme Court did this in the name of redistributing tax revenue from prosperous, mostly white school districts, to hard luck black and Hispanic communities. No matter how you slice it, it’s egregious theft in the name of hare brain social engineering.

            [Report abuse]

      • James R again illustrates the inability to separate impressionistic writing– which is what Victor Davis Hanson’s piece is– from actual fact-based reality. So, James can find someone at a think tank– a very very conservative think tank– who also finds Spanish speaking citizens frightening. None of the text he cites provides any data to back up the assertion that “the federal and state governments are either the main employers or at least the chief sources of income — whether through emergency rooms, rural health clinics, public schools, or social-service offices”. That’s a comforting illusion for people afraid of other languages and cultures. Just find one actual data-based source (not someone writing about their own fears) to substantiate your repeated assertion that there has been any “flight of the middle class out of state”. You can’t. So you don’t.

        As for referring readers to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association– which is named for the person who advocated Prop 13 in the first place (and therefore by definition is not in any way to be considered nonpartisan) in response to my citation of a scholarly report published by a nonpartisan group, the Public Policy Institute of California; well, that speaks for itself, really, doesn’t it? non-partisan studies provide uncomfortable facts for everyone. Reading the position papers of a group with whom you agree– which is what James R indulges in regularly– is nothing more than steeping in one’s own poison.

        Oh, and about that lefty business– dear god, how I wish people like you could understand that the world is not divided into two groups. I am proud to be a progressive. That means my political position is probably farther to one end of a spectrum than yours. But what using words like “lefty” is intended to do is to dismiss without thought or engagment those with other opinions.

        [Report abuse]

        • James R

          “So, James can find someone at a think tank– a very very conservative think tank– who also finds Spanish speaking citizens frightening. ”

          Victor Davis Hanson is a fourth generation native of California who grew up in the central valley — he still owns the family farm. He bears witness over a lifetime to what has happened to California in a way you cannot. And you could hardly call him intellectually lazy,

          “http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=Rosemary+Joyce%2CVictor+Davis+Hanson&year_start=1990&year_end=2010&corpus=0&smoothing=3″

          “None of the text he cites provides any data to back up the assertion that “the federal and state governments are either the main employers or at least the chief sources of income — whether through emergency rooms, rural health clinics, public schools, or social-service offices”.”

          Well, feel free to cite your statistics in opposition. The above statement is certainly plausible to the average California taxpayer. It’s incredibly expensive living in California so just how could the poorest of the poor manage to support themselves here without welfare and heavy government subsidization of Hispanic child bearing?

          http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_4_hispanic_family_values.html

          “Just find one actual data-based source (not someone writing about their own fears) to substantiate your repeated assertion that there has been any “flight of the middle class out of state”. You can’t. So you don’t.”

          http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2003/1109demographics_frey.aspx

          [Report abuse]

          • As before, you continue to provide opinion without facts. Your own claim to authority here is to speak for “the average California taxpayer”. Your claim for Hanson is based on his family history, but provides (again) absolutely no reason why a somewhat poetic narrative in any way constitutes a claim about reality.

            But more revealing still are the links you finally provide in an attempt to support your assertions– because, as readers who bother to visit them will find, they do not in fact support the claims made.

            Let’s start with the Brookings Institute piece from 2003. It is offered in support of a claim that there has been a “middle class” flight out of California– explicitly explained by James R. as a consequence of immigration into the state from Mexico (often, in his posts, mixing legal and undocumented immigrants, but always quite clearly from Mexico).

            The article, though, is about no such thing. It documents the growth of the “New Sunbelt” — “13 states in the nation’s West and Southeast of which Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina are prime examples” that sociologist William Frey, the author of the report, calls “the present-day counterpart of America’s suburbs”. His goal is to explain what population is moving to these states and why. In making that explanation, he does contrast life in California (and other states) with that in the New Sunbelt, but mainly to indicate why the quest for a “suburban” style life is bringing immigrants to these places:

            “the new migrants are trading the pricey, congested commuting towns of the more urban metropolises in California and the Northeast for more peaceful, family-friendly 21st-century Levittowns in the sprawling suburbs and exurbs of places like Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix.”

            Frey does contrast this growth with the population growth in places like California:

            “The New Sunbelt, it should be said, does not include the “old” Sunbelt meccas of California, Texas and Florida. Instead, these make up part of the nation’s churning, bubbling “Melting Pot” region. These nine states—which include such other immigrant gateways as New York, New Jersey, and Illinois (with Chicago)—constitute America’s most urban super-region.”

            “Like big cities of the past, they are the primary destinations of new immigrants and immigrant minorities. Collectively, they house 70 percent of the nation’s foreign-born population but only 37 percent of its native-born. More than three-quarters of all Hispanics and two-thirds of all Asians live in these states, where bilingual speakers and interracial marriages are commonplace.”

            “Immigrants continue to flock to the region’s longstanding ethnic enclaves, institutions, and social networks.”

            So does Frey draw the negative cause-and-effect conclusions that James R. does, and that would support his citing this article in his favor?

            No, Frey does not:

            “Long-distance migration flows are fueling growth in New Sunbelt states that offer affordable new housing in safe, dispersed settings with more local control, ingredients that have always attracted Americans to the suburbs.”

            “Yet the Melting Pot states that they are leaving are not emptying out. They are the prime beneficiaries of the nation’s rising immigration levels, infusing these states with urban diversity and a vibrancy that has long been associated with cities.”

            “Urban diversity and a vibrancy that has long been associated with cities”.

            Not quite what James R. ordered, is it?

            While the Brookings Institute is indeed a non-partisan organization which represents diverse views– and I highly recommend the work of William Frey to interested readers– the second of James R.’s proposed sources is City Journal, an online newspaper published by The Manhattan Institute. This is a conservative think tank, and not surprisingly, it fosters the kinds of views James R. wants to hear.

            The specific piece he links to, by Heather Mac Donald, is a noxious attack on Americans of Latino heritage that combines misunderstandings of the actual changing composition of the US population with straightforward prejudice. There are facts in the article, but they are wrapped in a lard of anti-immigrant– or really, anti-Latino– sentiment that simply has to be rejected for what it is: racism.

            Finally, for those readers with a sense of humor, James’s third link above is an idiotic misuse of google that I think is supposed to show that I am very much unqualified to speak, when compared to Hanson. If an undergraduate did something like this in a course of mine, he or she would fail. But bravo! to James for finally doing more than simply repeat his own baseless opinions.

            [Report abuse]

          • James R

            “While the Brookings Institute is indeed a non-partisan organization which represents diverse views– and I highly recommend the work of William Frey to interested readers– the second of James R.’s proposed sources is City Journal, an online newspaper published by The Manhattan Institute. This is a conservative think tank, and not surprisingly, it fosters the kinds of views James R. wants to hear.”

            In the world of Rosemary Joyce there are only two types of opinion: non-partisan and ultra right wing. That tells you where she is coming from. It is very interesting that she calls the PPIC and Brookings Institution “Non-partisan.” They are both widely recognized as left of center. Most of the Brookings Institute policy wonkery has been in the service of liberal political figures from FDR to Bill Clinton and the PPIC cheer leads for third world immigration, in spite of patent harm it is causing California.

            What is curious about Prof Joyce is her constant demand for statistical evidence, yet she herself provides none. “Curious, for an anthropologist,” I was thinking to my self. Then, I came across this in a recent issue of the NYT:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/science/10anthropology.html?hpw

            “The decision has reopened a long-simmering tension between researchers in science-based anthropological disciplines — including archaeologists, physical anthropologists and some cultural anthropologists — and members of the profession who study race, ethnicity and gender and see themselves as advocates for native peoples or human rights. ”

            Obviously, Prof Joyce belongs to the half of anthropology dissociating itself from the scientific method. They prefer third world ethnic advocacy to the objective study of variety in Homo Sapiens, which often leads to politically incorrect truths.
            Many of those politically incorrect truths Californians already know from their daily encounters with a fruit salad of ethnic groups — not to mention from the widely publicized achievement gaps in our public schools and local crime statistics.

            “The specific piece he links to, by Heather Mac Donald, is a noxious attack on Americans of Latino heritage that combines misunderstandings of the actual changing composition of the US population with straightforward prejudice. There are facts in the article, but they are wrapped in a lard of anti-immigrant– or really, anti-Latino– sentiment that simply has to be rejected for what it is: racism.”

            Heather MacDonald is a brilliant scholar with Ivy League credentials: hardly a racist, and very well respected. She makes the mistake, in Prof Joyce’s mind, of taking sane positions on third world immigration. But rather than argue how wonderful Hispanic immigration has been for California, Prof Joyce prefers to point and sputter — everybody who disagrees with her is a racist.

            I guess what I resent most is that Prof Joyce lives large as a scholar on the taxpayers dime, instead of on the ample funds of La Raza or the Southern Poverty Law Center, who at least are up front about whom they hate (the white middle class) and what they would like to accomplish (abolition of the white majority).

            “Finally, for those readers with a sense of humor, James’s third link above is an idiotic misuse of google that I think is supposed to show that I am very much unqualified to speak, when compared to Hanson. ”

            Did I say that? Ngrams just shows that Hanson is published and referenced more often than you are by a factor of five. So he’s hardly fringe, and he’s quite a productive and respected scholar.

            [Report abuse]

    • Karen

      If the American public understands the value of higher education, then perhaps the disconnect is in framing of the question of “raising taxes.” Raising whose taxes? The lower and middle classes are tapped out…some working people I know are barely surviving, eating PBJs from Dollar Tree outlets; many who are unemployed are living with relatives. Only more damage can be done by raising taxes on those struggling to survive. But just try to raise the taxes of the wealthy or corporations, and they will successfully fight the effort through their puppets in Congress.

      Maybe we no longer trust politicians, who promise to invest our money in education, only to betray us once they gain power. Instead they invest in the technologies of war, and funnel our tax money into failed banks and businesses that only benefit a small group of very rich people.

      The American people must insist on ending our insane foreign policies, bringing home our troops, and investing in education, green jobs and technology. Cut the bloated defense budget and we may have enough for education AND health care.

      [Report abuse]

    • Milan Moravec

      Additional funding and tuition hikes by themseves do not address the problems of higher education in the UK or at the University of California Berkeley. University of California Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.
      A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.
      It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.
      In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donors, benefactors await the transformation.
      The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.

      [Report abuse]

    • Bill

      One question that is not answered here: “What does it cost the government to provide higher education?”

      Part of the problem with the protests in the UK is that no one seems to ask what costs are associated with the education of the students.

      I would assume that it is about $14,000 higher than what it was in the past per student.

      I agree with you that we have to support higher education. But does that mean that government shall always support it with no regard to actual costs?

      I worked for a University in Colorado for sometime. Having come from the “for Profit” world, working for a University was a huge change of pace for me. So many inefficiencies I can’t even begin to list them all. I cleaned up the area I was in charge of, but the University still struggles with budgets and lay offs year after year.

      Perhaps it is time to look deeper into the inefficient areas and possibly make them more efficient, thus reducing costs. Someone introduced me to some eLearning software as an example.

      Using something like this, the Internet to teach, and a wide range of other efficiencies available to us would severely cut the expenditures of Universities. Yet, from my limited experience, Universities like to do things the way they like to do them. They don’t like change and they certainly don’t like the “for profit” guy coming in and changing the way things have always been done.

      [Report abuse]

Leave a comment

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


× 3 = 3