Reagan’s Birds Come Home to Roost

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.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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