Gavin Newsom wrote a lot of really, really nice things in support of college students throughout California in his letter to the editor on Thursday. Here’s the CliffsNotes version:
1) Newsom believes in fully funding the UC, CSU and community college system in this state, saying that rolling back student fees will be his “top priority upon taking office” as governor.
2) He calls our state’s greatest asset its “vast concentration of human potential.“ Through these tough economic times, investing in our people can help rebuild California.
3) He writes that UC and CSU cost five times what they did in 1990, far outpacing inflation. Community college students, meanwhile, have seen their per-unit fees increase 30 percent from last year. He calls these increases “unconscionable” and “unacceptable.“
4) He wants to strengthen the Cal Grant system, further easing the cost of higher education.
Limiting student fees, more Cal Grants – as a college student, what’s not to like? On principle, these are exactly the kinds of changes students have been protesting in favor of.
The problem is, it’s not practical – not without further explanation, at least.
Students already know what they want. What they don’t know is how to get what they want, a subject Newsom doesn‘t address in his letter.
If Newsom really cuts the cost of a college education like he says he will, where are the funds to offset these changes going to come from? Someone or something would see their funding cut dramatically to make up for a major change like this to California’s already broken budget.
We thank Newsom for writing in and opening this dialogue. It’s something he didn’t need to do, and something no other gubernatorial candidate has done.
While we’re here, we might as well ask more questions: Does Newsom support the idea of decreasing prison spending and pushing some of those funds toward education? Is he in favor of an oil severance tax? How about tax reform in general? In short, show us exactly where the money would come from.
With the way student fee increases have been handled recently, we have very good reason to be skeptical of what Newsom has to say. We certainly support the claims he made; we just need some more questions to be answered before we believe him.