Thursday, May 11, 2017

Twice In One Week: An Educational Barrier of the Past and Present

Twice in one week! I listened to two related stories of triumph; I wish, however, that this familiar narrative would die. I have studied the past, been admonished by my parents at the dinner table as a youth, and frustrated by the not uncommon accounts of students and colleagues how high school counselors continue to steer away Mexican-origin youth from college-prep courses.

At a May 3rd Future Leaders of America forum at Cesar Chavez Elementary, students of the Oxnard Union High School District delivered data and testimonies on the achievement gap in their respective campuses in comparison to schools in Ventura County’s more affluent communities.

Actually, A-G admission requirements for the California State University and University of California framed the discussion. A FLA study indicates while Hispanics made up 75% of the students in the OUHSD in 2014, only 22% of graduating seniors from this demographic completed coursework to attend a CSU or UC.

In addition to the factors of family income and race that defines the character of college admissions, the discretion of one high school counselor in particular echoed the racist expectations of 20th century educators who assumed that parents and students of Mexican-origin did not value education.

To combat this persistent lie, each FLA presenter, some 15 talented high school students in all, declared, “We value education.” One in particular shared the story how he made repeated pleas to his counselor to be enrolled in honors courses only to be told that not a single section had room for him. Determined to prepare himself for college, he approached the teachers of such classes to ask if open seats existed. All replied yes.

The counselor, however, did not budge. Even more resolute, though, this student made an appointment with the campus principal to meet with him and his parents. Only then was he allowed to take the courses he wanted. As a result of his brio, he will graduate this year #1 in his class and attend the University of California at Berkeley in the fall.

“Halleluiah!” I said to myself as I held back from standing up in the audience to shout, “That counselor must be fired!”

Afterward, OUHSD Superintendent Dr. Penelope DeLeon provided another silver lining. She announced the district’s increase in Advance Placement course enrollments by 1,069 college bound students. To replace unsatisfactory grades, students will also have the opportunity to retake A-G classes in the summer. Added to this, the district will cover the registration cost of all its students to take the college PSAT and SAT.

Two days later, I participated in the presidential investiture ceremony of my new boss, Dr. Erika D. Beck, at CSU Channel Islands. After the congratulatory speeches of colleagues, friends, and family, Dr. Beck professed the power of a higher education to transform lives. To prove this, she exampled the story of Judge Michele M. Castillo, appointed to the Ventura County Superior Court in 2016.

Among several challenges in her family while growing up, Judge Castillo’s father battled alcoholism. To shield herself from the discord in a household that accompanies addiction, the isolation of study was Michele’s refuge and going away to a university her escape plan. Similar to the experience of the FLA student, however, her Buena High School counselor discouraged her, too, from an AP load of classes. For the young Michele, this counselor created a schedule in home economics. No college needed for her.

Despite this lack of encouragement, she enrolled in the classes she demanded and was accepted by UCLA, UC Davis, USC, and Stanford. She became a Bruin, graduated, and went on to earn a law degree from Thomas Jefferson Law School in San Diego. After a 13 year tenure as a public defender, Judge Castillo now serves as a role model of the possible in her community while ensuring equal justice for all.

Although stories of the FLA student and Judge Castillo are of perseverance, they highlight an exceptionalism. But how many persons—particularly of Mexican origin and others from the historically underserved—have not enjoyed the improved life chances that comes with a higher education due to the low expectations of educators? Too many. Educational data tells us this.

So what’s the answer? Increased state funding for K-14 public schools, the CSU, and UC so an army of culturally competent and sensitive counselors can encourage all students to pursue a higher education, especially for those who embrace this dream.

As President Beck referenced a 2015 Public Policy Institute of California study, this is an imperative as the state’s economy will face a shortfall of 1.1 million employees with baccalaureate degrees by 2030. This is while nearly 55% of students in the state’s educational pipeline consist of Hispanic youth. As a federally recognized Hispanic Serving Institution, over fifty percent of CSU Channel Islands’ student body alone consist of people, largely, of Mexican origin.

To meet the state’s demand for a highly skilled workforce, the people of California must force elected state and federal representatives such as President Donald Trump; Governor Jerry Brown; Senators Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris; House of Representative members Julia Brownley and Salud Carbajal; and state senators Hannah Beth Jackson and Henry Stern; and assemblymembers Jacqui Irwin and Monique Limon; and others to fully fund public education beyond the levels of the Great Recession of 2007.

For this to happen, call them (and other elected officials) to make this demand. Their contact information can be found at votesmart.org.

C/S
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Talking Points to Veterans on Writing

Below are talking points I delivered to military veterans of California State University Channel Islands.

Follow directions.

Read, read, and read more. Non-fiction and fiction, short stories, op-eds, magazines (The New Yorker is a must). Charles Dickens, Harper Lee, Edgar Allen Poe (gloomy stories), Gloria Anzaldua, Rodolfo Anaya, George Orwell, Mary Twain, Willa Cather, Richard Wright.
As you read:
• Study how stories are constructed from start to finish. How do paragraphs vary? How are punctuation marks used and manipulated, especially the comma.

• Read books on writing. E.B. White's _Elements of Style_ is a good start. I loved Stephen King’s book on writing titled, _On Writing_. _The Dead Zone_ was also one of the first books I read cover to cover and scared me through the whole process.

• Increase your vocabulary and notice how ideas are conveyed, and even toyed with, by words.

•To start your writing bullet points are fine. Each bullet point can be a page or paragraph of your main idea (thesis, argument). As you move forward, tease out your ideas and then eliminate the bullets.

Writing is hard. Take if from people like Franz Kafka and Emily Dickinson who described it as painful (at least Kafka did) and wrote for themselves and not others. Kafka almost destroyed all his writings at one point. And Dickinson stashed away many of hers, only to be discovered recently--I read this in The New Yorker a few months back. I love her poem _Because I Could Not Stop for Death_. This is a reflection of my saturnine side, hence Poe.

Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes. But at the same time be careful in what you want to communicate by way the written word. Don’t be afraid of what others might think. The hell with those who will be offended, even your friends. So write boldly, honestly, and clearly. Be vulnerable. This is what makes writing interesting.

For term papers, write drafts (more than 2-3, at least).

The outline. When do you create one? Before? As you go? Both?

Follow carefully the directions of professor’s as stated in their instruction sheets. Most spend a chingo of time creating them. It is wonder how many students ignore my instructions and as a result fall short of assignment expectations.
Furthermore, as you move forward in the development of your finished paper,:
*meet the minimum pages of writing. Keep in mind that a minimum page of required writing could and most likely will translate into, at best, a minimum passing score.

*State clearly your thesis/main Idea/theoretical framework/argument of your project. This may/will change as you develop your paper.
*One way to achieve immortality is to leave a body of writing. You never know where it may end up.

Proof read your writing, especially if you’re are a lousy keyboarder as I am. For a good example of this, see above.

In conclusion, avoid starting your writing with hackneyed phrases, especially in regards to the weather.

C/S
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Sunday, April 9, 2017

No Puente Program in VC: What's Up With That?

Since returning to Ventura County in 2001, I continue to be baffled why the Ventura County Community College District fails (as well as area high school distritcts) to have a Puente Program. It has proven to significantly enhance the transfer of students to four year colleges and university. Cypress College (where I previously worked for 9 years) fought for it when I was there--thanks to the intrepid leadership of Dr. Enriqueta Ramos and MEChA. Today, Cypress College's Puente Program is strong and continues to have outstanding rates of transfer, especially when compared to the overall dismal rate of transfer in the California Community College system.

Even Puente alumni in VC don't champion this cause. What's up with that?

C/S
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Monday, January 2, 2017

Trucha (Look Out): You’re Being Watched—Too!

According to Turning Point USA, I am one of two hundred professors, “who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” Consequently, by way of its dubious Professor Watchlist, TPUSA contends that its purpose is to inform alumni, parents, and students of, “specific incidents and names of professors that advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.”

But TPUSA’s insidious real aim is to intimidate and single out educators to complement President-elect Donald Trump’s rising number of like registries for their faith, in the case of Muslims, journalists, and employees within the State Department and Department of Energy who advocate, respectively, for the rights of women and the LGBT community as well as the health of our planet.

The creation of lists that target intellectuals and educators echoes loudly in history. One reverberation is described by historian Karl Dietrich Bracher in his classic work The German Dictatorship: The Origins, Structure and Effects of National Socialism (1970). Another is in the movie the Killing Fields (1984) based on New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg’s coverage of Cambodia’s civil war of the 1970s.

In the former, Hitler—who was no socialist but used the label to attract the left behind working-class of Germany—and his Nazis killed targeted professors, intellectuals, and bureaucrats that he believed threatened his regime. For the latter, a scene demonstrates how Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge tricked imprisoned teachers and other professionals into identifying themselves only to be executed by suffocation.

Lesson: thinkers threaten totalitarian rulers. So members of the intelligentsia must be branded and dealt with accordingly.

Charlie Kirk, the 25 year old Founder and Executive Director of TPUSA, culled my name for identification from a Campus Reform post written by Anthony Gockowski who utilized a cooked version of my extra-credit assignment of the spring 2016 semester for a US History survey course. Gockowski also misrepresented its guidelines.

The exercise—one of several such opportunities I offer to promote civic engagement, critical thinking, and effective writing—encouraged students to contact their assembly and senate representatives in the California legislature to express how tuition of the California State University affected them and their families.

From this experience, I envisioned first-generation college students learning to format a business letter, discover (if they did not already know) who their elected representatives in the legislature were, and understand how to petition their government for a redress of grievances, if they had any.

Contrary to Campus Reform’s mendacious blog post, my instructions did not mandate the content of student letters. As context, however, I did provide essays I wrote on the subject that argued for a fully subsidized system of public higher education.

But in the Age of Trump and his gaslighting propaganda (i.e., a program of deception and deceit) and that of his surrogates, what does truth and accuracy have to do with anything?

Despite the disingenuous spotlight of TPUSA and Campus Reform, I again offered the business letter to elected official exercise as an extra-credit option this past fall semester. Like in previous semesters, the letters articulated the economic and psychological stress that high tuition cost of the CSU places on them and their family. To stay in enrolled in college, students work longer hours, incur unforgiveable debt in the tens of thousands of dollars, and their parents and grandparents burn through college funds, often in the first year, to provide their children with a higher education that my generation enjoyed at a fraction of the cost.

And this is just for one person in a family who dares to pursue a university degree.

As a graduate of the CSU in the 1980s, I cannot imagine starting my career or continuing onto graduate school as a twenty-something year old $20,000, $30,000 or more in student loan debt. With this in mind, I wonder how many willing and able young people have decided to forego a college education altogether as a result.

But that is the goal of right-wing groups such as TPSU, Campus Reform, and their millionaire benefactors that include people and groups of the likes of investor and Donald Trump supporter Foster Freiss, in the case of TPSU, and Leadership Institute founder and also Trump supporter Morton C. Blackwell.

Like the idea of universal health care, this gaggle of Ayn Rand objectivist adherents wish to promote a market economy where oligarchs further enrich themselves in a fully privatized system of education off the backs of working-class students and parents saddled with intergenerational debt.

An educated citizenry that speaks to power, is civically engaged, and draws lessons from the past would expose the fictions that define the reality of such right-wing groups. In fact, in the late 1960s it was their demigod Ronald Reagan who proposed higher tuition costs and education budget cuts as California governor to stem student activism.

Moreover, such political conservatives dread the historical reference of a public higher education in California once being virtually free prior to the 1980s.

So what’s the solution? Like the sponsors of TPUSA and LI, people of financial means that believe that an affordable public higher education is vital to the production of an engaged and informed citizenry need to develop, fund, and support the work of the counterparts of Kirk and Gockowski. Otherwise, publicly funded systems of education, health, and retirement will be completely abolished. Gross profit margins will then be the sole priority of private sector run social services over the needs of people.

Meanwhile, I will continue my letter writing extra-credit assignment as well have my US History students study primary documents from the following list that consist: James Madison’s Federalist #10, Henry David Thoreau’s On Civil Disobedience, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Andrew Carnegie’s essay on Wealth, Emma Goldman and John Most’s Anarchy Defended by Anarchists, Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, and the Black Panther Party’s 10-Point Platform and Program.

Such informed dissent of the past is our only hope for a more just future.

C/S
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Amigos805 LatinoLA History News Network RawStory

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

History of Professors: Stories to Connect with Students, especially First Gens. Pt. 1

California State University Channel Islands (CI) enjoys the opportunity to compete for millions of federal government dollars as a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Since 2007 over $26 million dollars have flowed into my campus via daedal grant proposals grafted by student-centered Science and Social Science professors. In addition to the augmentation of the university’s capacity to serve all students, the advancement of recruitment, retention, and graduation initiatives with HSI money is key, especially for those who are the first in their family (a.k.a, first gens) to pursue a baccalaureate degree. One way professors can undergird this errand is for them to share their life narratives as a means to tether their experiences with that of their students.
As a first gen university graduate, the family histories that my professors shared with the class allowed me to connect with them as persons with resonating tales of family trials and triumphs. For example, as an undergraduate at California State University, Fresno, Dr. John W. Bohnstedt, in a lecture on the rise of the Third Reich, shared how his family were German refugees prior to the start WWII. As a journalist married to a patriotic German Jewish woman, making his two children (Johann and his sister) Jews, Professor Bohnstedt’s father anticipated the lethal pogroms of the Nazis. Hence, as a former WWI prisoner of war in the United States, impressed by how well his captors treated its enemy, he sought refuge for his family in America. But our nation restricted the entrance of such refugees. But eventually, the Bohnstedt family entered the US in 1940 via the backdoor of Latin America, Panama specifically.

Immediately upon his matriculation into a Minnesota school, the young Johann Wolfgang Bohnstedt was no more. To commence his Americanization, campus officials renamed him John W. Bohnstedt. In 1945, he entered the US Army and eventually earned a higher education by way of the GI Bill.

These stories intrigued me. So I eagerly attended Professor Bohnstedt’s classes to hear other sagas of his ethnic, immigrant, refugee life. His German mannerisms and accent also fascinated me, especially when he addressed me with a deliberate, “Hallo, FRONK.

As he lectured, he periodically paced from each side of the classroom, slightly bent forward due to his scoliosis. In the contemplation of an idea, he placed the thumb and index finger of one hand on his chin and the palm of the other on his hip as he pulled back one side of his coat revealing the buttoned-up vest of his three-piece suit.

During a lecture on European Communism, he drolly recounted why he disliked, actually hated, communist. Apparently, when Johann was a boy, his mother and father, in need of a respite from parenting, he said, vacationed without him and his sister. So the Bohnstedt parents placed their children in the care of a nanny whose husband was a German communist. Each morning, Johann ventured to the kitchen of his caretakers for his favorite treat—a slice of headcheese. But one sunrise someone emptied the headcheese platter. Professor Bohnstedt then averred to the class, with practiced timing and a sonorous German enunciated English, “I was angry that my treat was gone. Then I thought to myself, ‘That god damned communist ate my headcheese.’” The class erupted and he smiled.

Therefore, Dr. Bohnstedt professed a history that ventured beyond the often prosaic narratives in books, or, worse, scholarly articles. His family’s story brought the events of the past to life. The movements of the World Wars of the 20 century and the era of Otto Von Bismarck, for that matter, in the 19th did not seem as distant in time as I was in the presence of a person whose grandparents most likely lived in 1870s Germany. I also learned of an immigrant experience other than that of my family’s. German Jews of the early twentieth century, similar yet at the same time different from Mexicans, were also the unwanted other in the United States who, overtime, would be incorporated into the nation’s polis. Anti-Semitism highlighted by Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) took on a powerful resonance due to the privilege of hearing from a professor whose refugee origins was an associated result of nationalized hate.

Consequently, to capture the imagination of my students, I share my stories, when fitting, based in a family of mixed citizenship and immigrant residency. As a first gen, I share how my US born dad and Mexican immigrant mom promoted a college education to their children. At the dinner table, my parents directed me away from high school shop classes where the majority of Mexican origin students had been tracked. Their expectation for me were college prep courses.

But once at the university, I discovered I was not fully prepared for success. I recall one afternoon on the fourth floor of the Fresno State library. I agonized to write the first sentence of the first paragraph of the first page of a research paper. I broke down emotionally and contemplated dropping out of school. Simultaneously, however, I could not quit. My parents had sacrificed too much for me to fail. As a result, I completed a sub-standard research paper that earned an F. Thank god I did well enough on other assignments and attended each session without fail allowing me a passing course grade. From then on, my academic habits and skills steadily improved as did my grades as I learned how to apply the same energy invested in my collegiate sport, wrestling, to academic learning. This story of struggle resonates with students. I know this because they tell me so.

So to hook the imagination of students, teachers need to share their stories. An honest window into your life history will not only inspire your students but also tie them further to you and the campus on their path toward graduation.

C/S
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Beyond Tokenism

“It could be worse,” a friend responded after I bemoaned the near futility in the elevation of the ratio of tenure-track (full-time) faculty from Historically Underrepresented Groups (HUGs). After years of trainings, expert speakers, discussions, and back channel debates on diversity, the character of the faculty at my campus, California State University Channel Islands, shifted only a tad.

For example, for the academic year of 2014-15, Whites made up 61% of the full-time faculty. HUGs professors—identified as African American (2%), Asian (5%), and Hispanic (14%)—totaled 21%. The remaining 18% consisted of people of unknown origin or of two or more races.

Despite gains made in the 2015-16 hiring cycle—six (38%) out of sixteen newly recruited tenure track faculty (men and women) are identified HUGs—the diversity needle moved only by an increment due to the retirements and resignation of existing minority professors.

Hence, after a concerted effort on the part of committed colleagues to diversify the tenure-track faculty, in the academic year of 2016-17, Whites will continue to dominate at 57%. The proportion of Hispanics will grow to 17%, Asian to 8% and African Americans will stagnate at 2%.

Meanwhile, 53% of the student body consists of HUGs, with Hispanics being the largest at 45%, followed by Asians at 5%, and African Americans 3%. Pacific Islanders and Native Americans combine for a total of 0.5%.

The demographic imbalance between faculty and students stands in bold relief as CSU Channel Islands enjoys, and will continue to accept, millions of federal dollars for being a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) to augment its capacity to serve all, not just Hispanics.

For a college or university to be designated a HSI, at least 25% of the student body must be of Hispanic origin. In California, according to HACU (the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities), 98 private and public campuses of higher learning earned this label.

In Ventura County, two of the three community colleges, Oxnard and Ventura, are HSIs. The third, Moorpark, is poised to soon be bestowed this brand in order to apply for much needed federal grants like those received by its sister colleges.

But like my campus, the tenure-track faculty of the Ventura County Community College District (VCCD) fails to reflect its students.

Indeed, seventy-two percent of the students at Oxnard College consist of Hispanic students, but only 31% of the full-time faculty is from this group. At Moorpark College, 32% of the students are Hispanic and only 13% of the faculty is the same. And at Ventura College 58% of the students is Hispanic but only 15% of the faculty are.

So, as in academe in general, Whites dominate the ranks of faculty at all three campuses of the VCCCD.

Unfortunately, resistance exists on colleges and universities in and out of Ventura County to have a professoriate that reflects the makeup of the students. In fact, a conviction of tokenism prevails.

I have listened to the rejoinder from White professors that a HUGs member existed in a department; therefore no more diversity was needed. Faculty colleagues of color and students have relayed to me similar conversations.

Interestingly, White faculty who disdain the notion of a mandated quota of minority hiring, tacitly adhere to a de facto system in this regard. In other words, if a minority is hired in a department, Mission Accomplished. That’s it. No more!

This “one and done” logic does not apply to White faculty. A dominant number of such faculty, both men and women, can exist in a department without question or anxiety. This is the face of privilege.

Nonetheless, the demand for a diverse and more representative full-time faculty on college campuses is not just for the noble cause of representation—the central tenet of our democracy. These are relatively good paying jobs with enviable plans of vacation, health, and pension.

This is particularly true as the private sector has steadily degraded, if not eliminated, such basic packages that sustain a middle class quality of life. Consequently, HUGs want to enjoy the remaining nice things in life too.

So what is the solution?

First trustees and regents of public institutions of higher education need to send an unequivocal and consistent message that their colleges and universities must hire more full-time HUGs faculty. From this declaration, systems executives, campus presidents, and their managers must hold department chairs and faculty search committees accountable. If no HUGs are recommended to be considered for appointment, executive administrators need to exercise their authority to abort searches.

If a departmental pool of applicants is repeatedly deficient of minority applicants, especially in the humanities and social sciences, where the odds are greater for such finds, a plan of action must be implemented. This could entail department chairs and members of the faculty scrutinizing and comparing job announcements that resulted in HUGs hires.

Faculty can also frequent professional meetings to recruit HUGs applicants. This is in addition to networking with graduate programs to solicit prospective and recent HUGs masters and doctorate degree holders.

As one chemistry colleague recently declared, “We need to go beyond fishing for minority faculty candidates.”

I agree. Now is the time to scuba dive for more HUGs.

C/S
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Amigos805

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Functionary and Pol Overseers for the 1%

To prepare residents for the 21st century, California’s leaders lack vision. Instead of leading the charge that demands the full funding of its systems of public higher education, Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, and Timothy White, Chancellor of the California State University, scoff at this notion.


California State University Chancellor Timothy White and University of California President Janet Napolitano LONG BEACH PRESS-TELEGRAM

In late January, in a conversation to recruit more underrepresented students and inform them how to pay for the ever-increasing price of tuition, White stated, “Nobody likes the word that begins with a T [i.e., taxes] . . . I'm an idealist and want to maintain costs as low as possible for students, but I'm also a realist.”

Similarly, and shortly afterward, when asked about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ tuition-free public college promise, Napolitano responded, “I don't think it's feasible… I appreciate the sentiment ... but you've got to ask, who pays?"

I don’t know what to make of the myopia of these two who helm, respectively, the largest and one the most prestigious public university systems in the world.

To answer Napolitano’s question, the following constituents can pay a squarer share:

• Commercial property owners, disproportionate beneficiaries under Proposition 13
• Like in Texas and Alaska, fossil fuel corporations that reap huge profits from California’s reserves
• Corporation that enjoy tax subsidies
• Wall Street speculators by way of a fraction of a percent tax on trading as proposed by Bernie Sanders

But the vapidity of White and Napolitano mirrors the pusillanimous character of the political establishment of California.

This abandonment is particularly frustrating as Hispanic pols are not only increasingly elected into the California legislature but also holding posts that could make such policies a reality.

For example, Kevin DeLeon is Senate Pro Tem and, just recently, Anthony Rendon became Assembly speaker. In addition, Assemblymember Jose Medina chairs the Higher Education committee.

But only Bernie Sanders champions a tuition-free public higher education.

While a new cycle of state officials enjoy the fruits of elected office, Hispanic students are enrolling in the CSU and UC in historic numbers. So much so that CSU and UC campuses throughout the state are winning the coveted designation Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI): CSU Channel Islands (my university), CSU Chico, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz to name a few.

To be a HSI, 25% of a university’s full time equivalent student population must be Hispanic. Once a HSI, it is eligible for sorely needed federal grants to augment its capacity to serve all students.

So as the CSU and UC lure in millions of federal HSI dollars, they are financially sticking it to all students who, on average, are assuming over $20,000 of debt.

Napolitano herself admits that 55% of UC undergraduates assume such a debt. This may not be much for a UC president with a salary package approaching $600,000, plus a $10,000 monthly housing allowance and $9,000 annually for car expenses. (White’s annual salary is $430,000 ) But for a twenty-something, working-class, first-generation college student this is huge.

Why don’t Sacramento legislators and university executives direct the cause for a tuition-free public higher education?

Could it be that they dread to offend real estate interests, utility companies, financiers, and other corporate interests that bankroll their political campaigns and donate to their university foundations?

In exchange for their financial contributions, these elites demand that elected officials and university functionaries not promote the reformation of the state’s tax code to make a public higher education once again virtually tuition free.

This is done by way of lobbying in and out of the cloistered rooms of the state capital and college campuses.

In my historical research of the Ernesto Galarza papers at Stanford University, I came across a document that stated that once a non-profit agency accepted donations from utility companies it sold its soul.

This intrigued me.

Then I noticed how my university regularly received donations from gas and electric companies among other corporate benefactors.

Then a few years later, I examined the papers of Charles C. Teague at UCLA. Teague captained the Limoneira Ranch Company in Ventura County and founded the Associated Farmers, an organization created to bust labor unions.

As a citrus baron, Teague raised financial support from finance, insurance, railroad, and petro-chemical companies to not only destroy unions but also influence Sacramento politicians to defeat workmen’s compensation, minimum wage, occupational safety, and other pro-labor legislation.

If history is a prologue to the present, I suspect a similar pressure-group dynamic muzzles Sacramento politicos and people like White and Napolitano from calling for a reformed tax structure so that today’s young people will not be burdened with crushing intergenerational student-loan debt.

So what’s the solution?

Every college student, parent, and grandparent who cares must contact Governor Jerry Brown and their state representatives to demand a tuition-free CSU and UC education. Vote Smart at http://votesmart.org/ can tell you who represents you.

C/S
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Ventura County Star