NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ847220
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-15
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
California's "Gold Standard" for Higher Education Falls Upon Hard Times
Keller, Josh
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n39 Jun 2009
Few documents in higher education have enjoyed the influence or longevity of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the 1960 law that transformed the state's public colleges and served as a blueprint for public systems across the country. Even today, almost 50 years after it was written, the master plan retains a mythic status in California, where it continues to provide the foundation of public debate about higher education. Californians routinely invoke the plan's promises of minimal fees and universal access as the basis for nearly any argument about the state's colleges. But as California grapples with one of the worst financial crises in its history, the master plan faces criticism that it is irrelevant to the needs and means of the state. Many scholars and college leaders argue that the hallowed document that has served the state so well for decades needs to be rewritten. By any measure, California's colleges are still some of the most diverse and highest-quality public institutions in the country. But there are indications that the state's higher-education system, once the gold standard for institutions from community colleges to research universities across the country, is having trouble adapting to California's changing needs. Compared with other states, California's educational capital is declining, a phenomenon that predates the current recession. The master plan "was a good way to distribute resources and enrollment in a state that was increasing capacity and had an almost limitless pot of revenue to support it." It doesn't get to the deeper issue of how to increase educational attainment. The challenge now is how to get more kids prepared for academic success, and how to get more students who enroll focused on attainment. And California is falling down on both of those. As a result, the master plan has slowly become irrelevant. Included herein is a figure titled "Degree Completion in California, 2007," showing California's rank among states by age group.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California