Seems like education is always the first to go

Guiliana Dakdouk, Managing Editor
March 8, 2011
Filed under Opinion

The mantra “education is priceless” has been engraved in our minds practically since birth. Yet each year, the big wigs of California colleges sit around a table to arbitrarily determine a tuition fee that equates to the cost of our education.

Meanwhile, be it via parents, work, federal aid, or loans, students do all they can to pay off the cost of tuition to get that education that is so crucial.

To better assist this overall situation, the government chose to cut the amount of funding going towards our education, meaning the government has truly recognized the students eternal need to further delve into the great pool of debt and toils, all for what?

As seen by the number of graduating classes in recent years, the job market is slim. While an education is necessary to get that job, the job opportunities are low and many people are finding it difficult to repay debts and make money.

Now the government is encouraging the concept of paying more for less. Governor Jerry Brown proposed $400 million in cuts to California community colleges’ general fund.

Potential repercussions to the budget cuts would be a reduction in the number of seats available for students, a raise in fees for in-state tuition, and potentially elimination of the winter and summer sessions. Governor Brown’s plan would increase in-state student fees from $26 per unit to $36 per unit.

As was evident in the first few weeks of classes, Santa Monica College has suffered from a severe overcrowding issue. The several attempts to add classes, to find parking and to even find a seat in your class has progressively worsened as enrollment consistently increases.

It is hard to believe that SMC is in better shape than most other community colleges in the state when we are suffering from over enrollment and a downsized budget. As of the first of February, SMC President Chui L. Tsang ordered a district-wide hiring freeze that will hopefully assist in the avoidance of layoffs and decreasing salaries.

While all of this is going on, our fellow students seem to either be ignorant to the fact that we can actually do something, or just not care that we have rights that we can stand up for.

If anything has been learned from the general education history classes we have taken, students have a voice and can make changes happen. While California does have a severe need to eliminate an increasingly large amount of debt, the way in which it should be done is not through education.

Community college is an option for not only students who needed a transition ground between a four year school and high school, but for those who simply could not afford a college education.

In addition, community college gives a second chance for success to those who were not as fortunate with their previous adventures. These years were meant for saving money and using the community college as a resource.

Taking a look at the salary of those very big wigs that decide the cost of education, we see a clear place for reduction in our budget.  The salaries of most of our leaders are far too high for people who care so greatly about students’ success.

Between budget cuts, fee increases and all the madness in our personal lives, how can students be expected to prosper and create positive lives when so much is stopping us? The answer does not lie in reducing funding for education, but rather in cutting unnecessary spending. After all, isn’t education priceless?

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