Cooking the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs: California’s Higher Education System in Peril: A Master White Paper for the CSU

By Dennis Loo, Dorothy D. Wills, Yasha Karant, Mayra Besosa, Päivi Hoikkala, Chris Nagel, Nicholas von Glahn, Ranjeeta Basu, and Ralph Westfall

California’s higher education system, the world’s largest and the pride of the state and nation, faces an unprecedented threat. That threat emanates from the de-funding, privatizing, and dismantling of public institutions. The course and outcome of this battle over higher education, between radically different visions of what constitutes the public interest, will have major repercussions for California, the nation, and the world.

Education offers a ticket to extraordinary riches: knowledge, skills, opportunity, and the passing on and further development of prior generations’ accumulated experience over millennia worldwide. It is the bedrock basis for genuine democratic participation and self governance by an informed, thoughtful, analytical, and therefore truly free public. A poorly informed and poorly educated citizenry can only bring about the nation’s material and intellectual impoverishment.

Education functions as a key process through which new generations are exposed to and develop the necessary skills and wisdom to assume the mantle of responsibility for society. Universities also function as sites that concentrate and support many of society’s best minds as they carry out research and create scholarship, in part in collaboration with their students. As vital as education, and higher education in particular, is to society, the highest administrative levels at public universities have been and are perversely destroying it “in order to save it.”

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