Mar 31, 2003
On March 18, California Governor Gray Davis signed into law the first portion of his proposed cuts in the state's social programs and services. Hardest hit is education, from kindergarten all the way to the universities, with 2.3 billion dollars in reductions. More cuts are to come, totaling 5.5 billion by the end of next year.
California's 108 community colleges, which serve 2.9 million students, have already lost 141 million dollars in funding and face cuts amounting to over 500 million dollars by the end of 2004.
On top of this, the state has more than doubled student fees with the extra revenue raised to go to the state's general fund, not to the colleges themselves.
California's two four-year college systems, University of California and California State University, also face cuts and fee increases. But the cuts and fee increases in the two-year community college system are much more severe, and the impact will be felt overwhelmingly by the working class.
For most workers and high-school graduates from working-class families, community colleges offer the only opportunity of starting a post-secondary education. Even the programs and sessions that are being eliminated – mostly vocational, job-training programs and weekend and summer sessions – are the ones that serve people who work. The higher fees and lack of classes will now force tens of thousands of these students to abandon school, blocking their possibilities for any further education.
All this comes at a time when big companies are laying off tens of thousands of workers. These cuts are part of a massive attack on the working class, launched by the bosses and their politicians to protect and increase the profits of big corporations. And they are especially cynical and hypocritical, for it is the bosses and their politicians who tell workers to go on with school in order to avoid unemployment.