The Educational Dinosaur
Exploiting academic hopes...
[Larry Stirling] 3/31/06
news that the majority of students enrolled for next semester
by the California State University System (CSUS) are unqualified
for admission should heap great discredit on the CSUS management.
State University, the flagship campus of the system, is preening
itself because only 20 percent of their admittees are unqualified
a better percentage because my alma mater has been able to
cherry pick applicants ever since the word got out that San
Diego State was rated once again by Playboy magazine as one
of the top 10 party schools in the nation.
me is why they still missed it by 20 percent. Can't they score
Stirling is a former California State Senator and Retired
Superior Court Judge [go to Stirling index]
It is hard
to think of the CSUS management other than "the
Don Knotts of education" or the "Education gang that
can't shoot straight."
CSUS is actually an educational dinosaur.
The Internet has made it so. There is really no reason to gather
tens of thousands of students at great big brick-and-mortar centers
at huge social, environmental, and personal expense when education
can be delivered anywhere in the world via the Internet.
It would be a lot cheaper to buy the student a computer and
some software and to bring them into test centers from time to
time rather than to house them away from home in huge facilities
for years on end.
The state of California is a financial basket case and CSUS
mismanagement is symptomatic of the larger problem.
Wouldn't it seem logical for the state director of finance to
point out that if more than 50 percent of their enrollees are
unqualified, CSUS is effectively 100 percent overenrolled and
therefore over budgeted?
The accumulations of the state staff's fiscal mismanagement
has driven our penultimately brave, virile, Viking of a governor
to his political knees and reduced him to begging the legislature
to authorize yet another big bond so that he, too, can spend
a bunch of money just like the rest of the state bureaucracy.
The CSUS constantly tells everyone that they need to increase
their budgets because there is simply not enough capacity for
all the future California students.
SDSU is pushing to expand in the most expensive city in the
state. SDSU's unreasonableness in this regard recently caused
distinguished San Diegan Tom Carter to resign from the foundation
Let me pose just this simple question. Did CSUS test the students
before they admitted them? If so, why did they admit them? If
not, why not?
If a student cannot do his high school basics well, why is he
expected to do well in college-level classes? No wonder they
fail to graduate in droves.
Why does the university enroll more students than they can teach
and why so many who are unqualified?
The answer is that the university has everything to gain and
nothing to lose by over enrolling. It is the taxpayers who pay
and the students who can't get classes that lose.
First, the CSU schools get paid by the number of bodies they
enroll. So, the more bodies: the more money for staff and benefits
for the faculty.
Second, the more students enrolled, the more high-priced textbooks
Books at school bookstores
cost on average twice as much as those at Barnes and Noble,
and B&N has to pay taxes, not
consume them. Textbooks costs are so high, that one company is
now "leasing" them.
In addition, the schools get customers for their food and residential
franchises not to mention fans for their entertainment and athletic
venues: each a profit center.
And most importantly, the schools get political clout.
I reported previously that I met and discussed this issue with
a former chancellor of the University of California.
He said: "We
at the U.C. took the position that we would raise admission
standards to control our budget. The CSU management
took the position that they would enroll everyone and dare the
legislature to do anything about it."
The bottom line is the CSUS trustees and chancellor have managed
to downgrade a great college system to a continuation high school
for more than 50 percent of its admittees. They are teaching
remedial high-school classes at college-level costs.
It is not enough to say that the students will get supplemental
classes at the community college if is the plan.
Remediation in community college is also a rip off. They should
get remediation at the adult education system that is much cheaper
The CSUS management is cold-bloodedly exploiting the academic
hopes of thousands of young people simply to build empire at
the expense of the youngsters' time and the taxpayer's overburdened
CSUS is not only a dinosaur; it is a hugely expensive dinosaur
that we cannot afford. CRO
is a retired superior court judge who now practices law with
the firm of Garrison & McInnis. He is a former Army officer,
member of the San Diego City Council, the California State
Assembly and the State Senate. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments may be published as letters to the Editor.
2006 Larry Stirling