The California budget crisis has made being a student in the public school system something of a roller-coaster. Since I’ve attended Cal State Long Beach, the fees have increased every semester and enrollment has been frozen, unfrozen, expanded so much that the CSU couldn’t fill its target, and is now expected to be cut again. [I have a sneaking suspicion that this instability may have been a factor in the cancellation this semester of a long list of classes in the journalism department, like investigative reporting and the radio production class I was so excited about.]
Classes have been cut and instructors’ pay has been decreased; “budget emergency” campus closure days have been implemented and then removed. New governor Jerry Brown’s plan to fix the state budget calls for $1.4 billion more in cuts from higher ed, including $500 million from the CSU.
And yesterday, there was this news: Republicans want to cut funds to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, grants for high-speed rail projects and applied research at the Department of Energy.
I know this is an incredibly complex problem with factors from market regulations to international debt, but funding education, journalism and the arts seems like a no-brainer. How can we expect to have a sustainable economy (and democracy) a decade or two from now without an educated workforce? If this isn’t “borrowing from the future,” I don’t know what is. If you haven’t seen it, this awesome interactive feature from the New York Times lets you fix the federal deficit. Plus, you get this great message when you’re done that says “You fixed the deficit!”
If only it were that easy.