PRO: On education, Brown deserves trust

Students should fully support Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to increase enrollment fees from $26 to $36 per unit in order to raise $110 million.

Brown’s fee hikes would partially offset a $400 million cut to California Community Colleges (CCC) in the state’s 2011-2012 budget. The result, a net $290 million cut, or less than 5% of total appropriations, would put CCC funding back at 2009-10 levels, which – to be realistic – isn’t that bad, considering California faces a $25 billion deficit.

Brown passionately supports higher education for California’s students. The tough decisions he must make going forward will preserve and strengthen California’s educational system as we move through rough economic times together.

California passed its Master Plan for Education in 1960, when Jerry Brown’s father Pat was governor.

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The plan set specific education roles for the UC, CSU and CCC systems, had two main goals: fostering educational excellence while preserving public resources and guaranteeing access for all, regardless of economic means.

From 1975-1983, during his first stint as governor, Jerry Brown successfully managed the Master Plan by significantly boosting funding for higher education, increasing the size and number of Cal Grants awarded, and creating education programs linked directly to jobs.

According to, Brown says the master plan has been “undermined” in recent years. He wants representatives “to create a new Master plan.” Brown also wants to embrace online classes and other technologies that can “increase productivity, expand access to higher learning, and reduce costs.”

With that in mind, Brown’s current proposals are no brainers. In fact, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests that fees could be increased to $60 per unit, which is $1,800 a year, without affecting needy students who are already exempt from fees under the Board of Governors’ waiver.

At $1,800 a year, California’s community colleges would still be one of the best bargains in education, and the vast majority of non-waiver students would still qualify for federal refundable tax credits that cover 100% of fees.

In other words, most students would still pay nothing, and the increased fees would help offset the cost of increased classes, reducing strain on the budget.

On his website, Brown says a top priority is to “focus on community colleges” and praises the “effective leadership” the schools have shown.

In the past, Brown has shown effective leadership when it comes to education. Let’s get behind him now and let him successfully lead us into the future.

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PRO: On education, Brown deserves trust