Law in Contemporary Society


The public education system in California is among the lowest ranking in the nation. One of the many symptoms of its broken system is demonstrated in the arena of its public higher education system, specifically in its community colleges.,0,3310236.story, These schools are saturated with students, many of whom could not afford to attend a four-year university after high school, the rising price of attendance of public four-year universities being another symptom of California’s crippled education system. This saturation has been combined with a decline in the quality of education as colleges have scrambled to allocate funds “efficiently,” (,0,3512910.htmlstory) one result of which has been job cuts and the resulting decline in class offerings. See the story of Cinthia Garcia for an illustration of the combined effect of the social phenomena that have just been described, just one of many who attended more than one California community college for a total of six years, and who still had to “[shift] her goals from a four-year degree, to a community college associate's degree, and now to a certificate, which requires fewer credits.”

Why not make these URLs links in the text? It would be far more readable and no less informative. Isn't that how the Web is supposed to work?

Suddenly, students, those who already are most affected by the high cost of higher education, are paying more for less, and those students for whom community college was once an affordable avenue to a four-year university or to an associate’s degree at the very least, are increasingly finding themselves priced out of access to higher education. This is especially problematic in light of another social phenomenon, being that higher education degrees have become more and more necessary to meet the qualifications of career jobs.


In terms of legal solutions that come to mind, one is that of holding public colleges and universities accountable for the quality of education, in particular the amount of classes offered, so that students are able to graduate in a timely manner. As part of this, students who have been forced to prolong their terms of study for lack of available classes could seek remedy of some sort. Considering the limitations of legal remedies, it only makes sense to combine legal pursuit of justice with social pursuit of justice, looking for a systematic way to benefit the affected population and provide more affordable access to higher education, at least making one small step towards bridging the access gap. While there are many ways to attack this problem on a policy level, my thought is this: a sort of higher education subsidy system, in the form of a tax would be placed on private corporations that would go directly to providing more affordable higher education. The plans have already been proposed, for example by the California Community College Board, it is the funding that has been lacking.

The funds from this would then either fund public colleges and universities so that they would be able to accommodate the increased number of students and lower tuition and fees or they would go directly to students pursuing higher education, based on financial need and irrespective of ability, more like a welfare system and unlike a public grant or scholarship in this respect. This could also fund the implementation of more widespread supplemental education programs like StraighterLine? (, which provide an affordable way to complete the necessary general education units to graduate. Further, with corporations falling into the role of a more powerful direct stakeholder, public universities will be more pressed to find ways to improve their quality of education and the government more pressed to hold these institutions accountable for the education they provide. In addition, the public and private sectors will benefit greatly from the qualified workforce this funding will help provide.,0,5060169.story

What's the claim? That taxpayers have a legal obligation to pay more for public services than they want to pay? On what basis would such a legal claim be asserted?

Of course, there would need to be a paradigm shift or a large movement before such tax could feasibly be imposed. The populous base is there, in those students and parents who have been frustrated at the cost of a public higher education that increasingly resembles a scam, as students can’t get the classes or they need to graduate. It is a matter of activating this population, a population which might have more sway than one would think, considering the affected group includes the large consumer base that is the young adult population as well as middle class parents who attempt to fund their children’s’ educations. This can occur school by school or district by district, activating a group of students and parents and going from there, building a movement and boycotting corporations who resist the tax imposed.

Corporations don't resist property taxes to pay for higher education: people do. They passed Prop 13 a generation ago, and by doing so they destroyed the California public education system. The voters who vote in California continue to prefer the limitations on property taxes to improved public services for other, poorer people. If you want that to change, the poor must register and vote.

I would begin with this affected population, identify the main issues affecting them, and search for legal remedy while activating them in an effort to seek a systematic solution together.

What makes you think there's a "legal" remedy for the injustice of oligarchy? Since when is it illegal for the rich to run the world? If you want democracy, the rule of the poor, do you expect, seriously, to get it established for you in the courts of the rich?

-- XochitlRodriguez - 22 Jun 2013


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r4 - 14 Jan 2015 - 22:23:39 - IanSullivan
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