The leaders of California’s universities are dismissing a report that says the state’s higher education system is failing. The report out today from the University of Pennsylvania describes California’s public university system as “rudderless”, lacking state policy leadership and relying too heavily on short-term political fixes. It says, while the system’s Master Plan was once the envy of the country, the system is now in danger of failing and could actually hurt the country.
University of California President Janet Napolitano says she hasn’t read the report and questions why another state is studying California. But she says her organization, the California State system and the community college system are already working to improve.
“We know that we can do more to make sure that higher education, as envisioned in the Master Plan, is strengthened and available in California and that it is essential for California to thrive,” she says.
Napolitano’s counterpart at the CSU, Chancellor Timothy White, says the state’s concept of providing two universities and community college options is sound, but should be updated.
"Most countries around the world who are trying to raise their level of education in their society come to California and model the Master Plan in these developing countries,” White says. “What is important is to contemporize to bring the Master Plan into the current needs of our students, the current needs of our economy.”
White points out California had far fewer people when the plan was first put in place. He does acknowledge the size of the state’s higher education system means its problems can affect the entire country.