File photo: Students go about their business at University of California, Los Angeles.
One of the pillars of a society is the extent to which it prepares the next generation to meet its needs. In California, that pillar is crumbling quickly.
A recent study by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy at California State University, Sacramento finds that California is at or near the bottom in affording university opportunities to its high school graduates.
According to the study, the state now ranks dead last in total funding per college student.
That speaks volumes about the willingness of elected officials--and by extension voters--to support higher education.
There's more. California isn't producing college graduates very quickly.
The study found that California ranks 41st in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded per every hundred high school graduates. In other words, we're not building an educated workforce for the future.
Finally, fewer people eligible to attend the university are going through the higher education experience.
According to the study, after seeing the participation rate rise to 58 percent from 53 percent between 2003 and 2007, the percentage of participants dropped back to 53 percent in 2009. Not surprisingly, these figures are lower for Latinos and African Americans than Whites.
The bottom line is that budget cut backs cost not only in the form of future better-trained workers, but the state in terms of fewer revenues because of a less equipped workforce.
Sometimes, we're so anxious to balance the state budget through immediate cuts that we don't appreciate the consequences from those actions.
The draconian reductions in higher education funding are beginning to take their toll, and we'll all be paying the price.