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Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

UCB RIP by Erik Tarloff (The Atlantic)

From Erik Tarloff, a novelist and sometime speechwriter during the Clinton years: a personal lament over the end of UCB, published in the Atlantic.

Update: And a response by UCB Chancellor Birgeneau. (Thanks, Gerry!)

5 comments:

Gerry Barnett said...

http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2009/07/24_ucbrip.shtml

Jack Chen said...

Thanks, Gerry -- I updated the post with your link.

Unknown said...

For those you haven't the time or inclination to read Chancellor Birgeneau's response. The reality (for UCLA as well) is this: "Ironically, it appears that the group that will be most disadvantaged by our funding challenges are not those who are truly low income people but rather the State’s middle-income families. Specifically, current federal, state and university financial aid plans protect the poor; however, the middle class — that is, those whose family incomes fall in the $60,000 to $120,000 range — receive limited aid and the current disinvestment in higher education by the State of California will only exacerbate their plight."

Jack Chen said...

Thank you, Jenny -- I thought that that was also the key point, and it's something that needs to be emphasized in any public outreach that we do. This isn't a left-right or Dem-Rep issue. Going rom $60K to $120K brings one from more heavily Dem voters to slightly more Rep voters, extrapolating from Paul Krugman (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/22/income-and-voting/). It seems that this group, which would be heavily disadvantaged under the current budget, should have common cause to start making noise to their representatives, whatever the political affiliation -- and indeed, having bipartisan basis would be even better for securing public education funding.

Gerry Barnett said...

The Chancellor's reply seems to me to miss Tarloff's point--the Berkeley that is dying isn't the one with the big reputation, but the one that was built on the vision of state providing access to top quality education for all its citizens. The new vision has all that same reputation, but the commitment to fund is shifting to federal support for poor students (and for that, I suppose, raise the tuition even higher so the students get even more aid that they can pass along), huge debt for the middle class, and it's still a great deal for the wealthy. Since the reputation of Berkeley doesn't depend on the number of middle class students it educates, Tarloff's concern just doesn't matter.

Another version:

Tarloff: Berkeley dies as the State backs out of its commitments and Berkeley gives up its vision of access for all.

Chancellor: We will keep our reputation and be a different Berkeley, funded by higher tuition backed by federal aid programs. Just some middle class folks that can't get aid and are priced out. Poor babies.

Another middle class death trip, eh Chris?

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