Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
My Turn: Higher Ed Is a Prerequisite for Our Future. Community Colleges Are Key to That.
gvw_calmatters
By CalMatters
Published 5 years ago on
January 4, 2019

Share

Pick an issue, any issue, and you’ll hear from the well-meaning throngs that theirs is a top priority for California’s long-term success.


Opinion
Eloy Ortiz Oakley
Special to CALmatters

Higher education is legend and compass when it comes to plotting a route on California’s roadmap to a stronger future and the preservation of democratic institutions.
But the multitude of issues and solutions won’t bring about real, lasting change without addressing the common denominator that could make or break the Golden State: higher education.
It’s almost a prerequisite for a viable future.
Higher education is legend and compass when it comes to plotting a route on California’s roadmap to a stronger future and the preservation of democratic institutions.
That’s why Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, Superintendent Tony Thurmond, leaders of the University of California, California State University System, the California Community College System, and private institutions must come together to craft and implement the big ideas today for the state’s viability tomorrow.
The California Community College System must be an important part of this discussion.

Addressing the State’s Pressing Challenges

We are uniquely positioned to help provide big solutions addressing the state’s pressing challenges with innovative approaches to improving access, equity and affordability for college.
Among these initiatives:

  • The California College Promise provides free tuition and a commitment to align with K-12 and university partners
  • Working to ensure Cal Grants are properly funded so the neediest among us are not left behind.
  • Forging ahead with an online college to open doors for working adults to attend college.
  • Supporting a cultural shift across the state and nation that views college not as an elite pathway for the haves but an opportunity for learning, skill development and economic mobility for all.

The entire education system and especially post-secondary education is charged with the monumental task of producing educated people who are informed, up to date, trained and enthusiastic about being part of the thriving whole. To be successful, a long-term view incorporating visionary, inclusive initiatives to improve higher education in California is required.
In other words, we must think big and be unapologetically bold.
California has significant challenges in workforce readiness, equity and poverty. But we start our next four-year chapter with a new governor, new education leaders and opportunities to improve education across the board and put in place ways to open the doors to higher education for all.
Data supporting the need to start this chapter with bold moves to improve California higher education is on the brink of being overwhelming. Not only is the country facing a skilled workforce shortage, but the future job market will require that more than 65 percent of workers possess a college degree or credential by 2020.

Accommodating College-Ready High Schoolers

Such daunting realities clearly demand solutions that accommodate college-ready high schoolers, returning veterans and workers who need enhanced skills for economic mobility.
Keeping ahead of poverty is yet another proof point in the case for improving higher education in California, the state with 7.4 million people living in poverty.

Keeping ahead of poverty is yet another proof point in the case for improving higher education in California, the state with 7.4 million people living in poverty.
The California Poverty Measure, a 2016 joint research product of the Public Policy Institute of California and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, finds that education is protective. The poverty rate among families with at least one college graduate is 8.6 percent. Among families where no adult has a high school degree, the poverty rate is 48 percent.
PPIC followed up with another report in December that found workers with a bachelor’s degree earn more than two times the annual income of a worker with only a high school diploma, or $80,000 compared to $35,000.  The report stressed the need to expand capacity within public and private institutions for California to serve the population and meet the demand for higher education.
All of these factors make it clear higher education is the lynchpin to our future. Now, as we enter a new era of leadership, we have a chance to be bold with solutions to ensure that the future is bright for Californians and the state economy alike.
Eloy Ortiz Oakley is chancellor of the California Community Colleges and a regent of the University of California regent, eoakley@cccco.edu. He wrote this commentary for CALmatters.

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

DON'T MISS

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have To Execute It’: FUSD Board President

DON'T MISS

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

UP NEXT

Will State AG Rob Bonta Jump Into 2026 Race for CA Governor?

UP NEXT

Local Leaders Must Put Their Shoulders Into Making Fresno ‘Education City USA’

UP NEXT

Carbon Capture Isn’t Nearly as ‘Green’ as Fossil Fuel Promoters Make It Sound

UP NEXT

CA’s High Construction Costs Limit Housing. A Supreme Court Decision Might Help

UP NEXT

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

UP NEXT

Biden’s Embrace of Trump’s Tariffs Could Spell Trouble for His Reelection: Fareed Zakaria

UP NEXT

‘Digital Democracy’ Project Penetrates California’s Opaque Political Processes

UP NEXT

While California Politicians Skirmish Over Housing, the Shortage Keeps Growing

UP NEXT

As PG&E Bills Skyrocket, Will California Lawmakers Hold Anyone Accountable?

UP NEXT

Trustees Owe a Nationwide Superintendent Search to Fresno’s Children

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

24 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

1 day ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

2 days ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

2 days ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

2 days ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have To Execute It’: FUSD Board President

2 days ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

2 days ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

2 days ago

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

2 days ago

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

2 days ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

You might have noticed that the tangy taste of pickles has taken over more than just the condiment aisle. From pickle-flavored popcorn to pi...

23 hours ago

23 hours ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

23 hours ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

24 hours ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

24 hours ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

1 day ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

2 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

2 days ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

2 days ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend