Thursday, December 15, 2011
Some ideas about the struggle to fund Higher Ed in California
Tonight I was at the northern California meeting of the Scholars Strategy Network. A couple of ideas struck me as especially useful. 1. There is a reasonable chance that the Democrats could win a 2/3 majority in the 2012 California legislative elections, making it possible for them to pass tax increases to fund higher education (if pressured enough). 2.Progressive UC faculty and staff should start a PAC to defeat legislators who don't support higher education. 3. The PAC and the student movement should target legislators with universities in their district. 4. The UC administration has a very narrow view of politics. It is focused on lobbying legislators for more funding (and is essentially resigned to failing at that) rather than on leading a political movement that can elect a 2/3 Democratic majority in the legislature. One demand to make of the regents and the embattled chancellors (Birgenau and Katehi) is that they step up and help lead such a movement. Refund California has made a similar demand--that the regents pledge support for a tax increase on the rich to fund higher education.