Budget Cuts


Lately, with the news on California budget cuts and the unknown of what the next two years will bring to Higher Education, I’ve been wondering;
-If there are no jobs, how will our students pay for their classes? Or their housing?  How will they be able to stay in school?
-If they are predicting that more people will need to come back to school for job training, why do we start offering less courses instead of more?
-If colleges are having to cut back, why are we not asking what is best for the students?


  1. The answer is quite simple if you think about it: the same way that people have done it since the beginning of time… deciding to or deciding not to.

    We’ve had recessions and a depression before and we’ll have them again. We’ve had giant leaps forward in technology and economics before and great plateaus where not much happened, and we’ll have them again. And we’ll have times where people had a hard time going to post-secondary schools, and we’ll have them again.

    But, that’s how we better ourselves as a species. We don’t build muscles when there is no strain. And we don’t grow as a civilization by being in a constant state of comfort. Too many people look at these types of turmoils as barriers when they should really look at them as opportunities. We don’t improve ourselves by facing the situations we have faced before. We only become productive by having a change of circumstances forced upon us.

    As a great man once suggested to me, when you face these situations, you can’t look at them as terrible evils. You have to simply ask yourself: what is not perfect about this situation yet? Then you find the answers. But to focus one’s attention on what one has lost will never steer one towards what might be gained. It will only frustrate one by making the concentration be on the pain of loss rather the potential for even greater things.

    It is hard when one is always trying to fit random pieces into pre-cut holes. You can’t fit the circles in the squares, the triangles in the rectangles, and so forth. Same thing here. Instead of asking what “students” should do to get their “education”, perhaps the focus should be on what “people” should do to get their “prosperity”. Change the view, and the picture is never the same.

    Perhaps the leaders in the educational institutions should re-examine what they can offer instead of expecting that their present modus operandi is untouchable and should remain as such, ignoring what the changed present world demands. Perhaps its time schools start to change the focus from specific subject matter to teaching people how to develop themselves so that they do not need to constantly go back to post-secondary institutions when the educational tools they developed for a specific career path become redundant.

    Your second question clearly shows that there is a problem inherent in specific career training through post-secondary institutes. Maybe that is what the focus should be on. After all, would it not be better to solve the problem of constant scholastic retraining in the face of industrial/technological change, rather than for teachers to remain oblivious to the fact that this world’s workforces no longer are based upon the singular career education training that the present post-secondary educational system is based upon?

    The world has changed while the model for post-secondary education has not. Until post-secondary education recognizes that the model must be updated, students will always have to face three to four year tuition they cannot pay, working jobs that are no longer there, to get a degree for a specific field that in ten to fifteen years might not even offer them a job anymore, forcing them to repeat the same singular method that got them there in the first place.

    It is important for those in the educational system to have sympathy for their students. But even more so, it is important that they have an understanding of how the demands placed on those students by the ages old educational system paradigm no longer fits the demands of the modern workforce. Until that fact is recognized and the educational system modernizes to address this fact, there’s not much that can be done to help students.

    (Sorry for my rant… hope it makes sense)

  2. Wow Craig, you nailed it. You bring in a lot of good points. Yes, there are many students who are studying fields that might now have jobs for them. You kind of trigger the age old question about requiring liberal arts courses along with core class. Does a student really need gender studies when they are studying to be a engineer? Hmm…in a way, our work lives will lead us to communicating with and respecting each other. Ahh…but this reminds me about how the purpose of Higher Education is to create a society of well rounded people. Who are more aware of themselves and the uniqueness of others around them.

  3. I have a personal belief that the notion of “well rounded” people is a very noble goal… but the application of institutes of higher learning to create these people succeeds almost entirely within those who already would be open to the concept before entering college/university. And, of course, it beckons the question: who decides what a well-rounded individual is and how a person becomes that.

    After all, while we see students forced to take liberal arts classes in technical streams, or science classes in artistic streams, we rarely see a person in a humanities stream being forced to take a class in… say… auto-repair or cooking or horticulture or woodworking or construction. And yet, these elements are about as important in rounding out a person’s life as any other. After all, we all eat. Most of us drive cars. We’d all be better off learning how to build or modify our own homes. And yet, these are things that are deemed not to create a “well-rounded” individual.

    Strange when you think about it, isn’t it?

    I don’t discount the idea. I think introducing people to a few things they might not be aware of might broaden the mind. But, when students need an education that will get them a specific job in a specific field during trying economic times (like we face today) do the institutes for higher learning not have a moral obligation to these students for improving upon themselves by adapting to the demands of the real world… versus the aspirations of a noble yet entirely hypothetical world?

    It’s a question of what is better: an individual who couldn’t afford to complete his/her degree and ended up unfulfilled in a job they never wanted, even though he/she got a little more well-rounded in the process? Or somebody who got the training necessary to make them productive members of a specific workforce, got the job they wanted and now have the ability to feed their family with a little left over at the end of the day?

    In the end, don’t we want people to just be… for lack of a better word… happy? I don’t think it’s our place to impose our values on others, whether those values are social, religious, political or educational. Just because some of us think being well-rounded is a noble goal doesn’t mean it should be a requirement for all occupations of a higher order. I would gladly trade a little of this well-roundedness for more people being able to get the jobs they want and live happy, productive lives. After all, a person who can get the job they want without having to jump through somebody else’s hoops are less likely to become disenfranchised or — even worse — criminally inclined.

    Trading off a “well-rounded” education for education that is attainable on a larger scale… it’s better for a society on a social level and it’s better for a country on a productivity level. At least that’s how I see it.

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