The recent protests over fee increases in California’s higher education system are worth watching and worrying over for a lot of reasons, as a recent post on “Education is a Right” makes clear. “If California has taught us anything,” writers Greogory Candenna, “it is that the amount of fee hikes states and regents will impose on students to mitigate budget shortfalls is limitless.”
He’s not exaggerating. Fee increases have tripled the cost of college in California over the last decade. These are Reagan’s birds come home to roost in every sense. As Governor of California Reagan made his disdain of student protesters all too clear. The anti-war movement convinced Conservatives that too much education– like too much government– is a dangerous.
More important was the Conservative’s so-called New Federalism. which attempted to destroy the New Deal, and hamstring the federal government, by shifting power to the states. This meant, among other things, that there would no longer be a coherent national plan for higher education. Bush’s wildly irresponsible fiscal policies put the icing on the cake. It’ll take years to clean up the mess.