California Heads in Wrong Way by Slashing Education Funding

I’ve never seen an article with the title “Increase in Education Budget” in the newspaper. However, I’ve seen a lot of articles with “Education Budget Cut” or “Another Tuition Increase in UC and CSU.” The state of California has been cutting the education budget from its total expenditures for several years.

Public institutions are receiving less and less money from the government. However, the governor of California is not coming up with a solution for increasing the education budget [Editor’s note: governor-elect Jerry Brown takes office Jan. 3, 2011], and they say there are no other areas in which to cut expenditures but education. This does not make any sense to me at all. The entire budget is not solely spent on education. There are many other areas where a good portion of state revenues are spent. Therefore, education should not be the victim of getting large budget cuts every time.

Should education be on the top of the list of the budget cuts? The answer is no. I firmly believe that our future lies in the hands of young people, and the hope for a better future is to educate them.

Hundreds of thousands of students are enrolled in public schools. They learn new material and gain knowledge in school. In fact, educational institutions are the place where students are trained to make a better future when they come out of school. This opportunity is being taken away due to the education budget cut.

Obviously, the education budget cut has largely impacted all those community colleges, California State Universities, and University of California because all those schools are supposedly supported by the state government. The class size is getting larger and larger on many UC campuses. In some classes, the ratio of professor to student is 1:200. This large class size just decreases the quality of education. Thus, students are not getting what they are supposed to get from the university.

Since many educational institutions cannot maintain their programs and classes, they often raise the tuition. Recently, there was another tuition increase in UC and CSU universities. Of course, all these tuition increases put more pressure on parents who have to pay for their children. It portends that there will be more and more students who will drop out of college, not because they don’t want to be educated, but because they simply can’t afford it. It’s the students who are getting hit by higher tuition and the poor quality of education.

The bigger problem is that adults, who are deciding to cut the educational budget, are expecting young people to solve this financial problem in California by assuming the financial burden themselves. However, they have no right to expect young people to solve this problem because young people are not getting education due to budget cuts.

Students can’t get the classes that they need to take, and their class sizes are just getting larger and larger. Also, a number of classes are disappearing from the class catalog every semester. There is no way for us, young people, to make changes in the future if we can’t get an education.

I believe that California is taking the wrong path with dramatic education budget cuts every year. The education budget should not be on the top of the list of budget cuts; it should be placed at the bottom. The state of California has to come up with an answer in a very short time. It cannot keep cutting the education budget and expect educational institutions to increase their tuition. The state government really needs to stop just looking at the present; it needs to look ahead.

-Ji Hee Yang, student