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Tim Myers: The truth about college in California

Myers' Musings

Posted: April 12, 2009 12:25 a.m.
Updated: April 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.
The Myers Clan-California branch will launch another child out of high school this spring and into college in late summer.

Our family feels blessed that our daughter will pursue her education to secure the status of credentialed teacher at California State University-Channel Islands for three reasons.

First, the Cal State system provides an extremely affordable education when measured against the value of a bachelor’s degree.

Second, CSUCI possesses a large amount of student housing relative to its student body, so she can enjoy the important growth and maturation experience of a residential university education.

Third, and this is a dad thing, Channel Islands perches above the strawberry fields of Ventura County near the suburban community of Camarillo. (Sorry, but dads worry about their daughters’ personal safety more than their sons’.)

With our daughter entering college, just like when our son entered the University of California San Diego in the fall of 2007, I think back about how Americans in general and Californians specifically love to complain about our public education system.

Just open the pages of any publication to hear politicians of all stripes, read the editorial page and letters to the editor and one can clearly see the truth.

The public grade schools suck, the public middle schools suck and especially the public high schools ooze suck from every brick, putting education behind the necessity of passing out condoms and teaching atheism.

Wouldn’t, then, all our American universities — and particularly our public universities — absolutely suck when primarily fed from this sewer of suckitude?

And wouldn’t the California public universities lead the charge, since they primarily receive feeder stock from the absolutely most dysfunctional public primary and secondary educational system in the world? (... at least according to some columnists and letter writers published in The Signal.)

The United States currently possesses some 5,700-plus institutions of higher learning, including public and private universities, colleges and community colleges.

Some factoids from the most current U.S. News and World Report ranking of colleges and universities: The University of California system, built by the senior Gov. Brown in the 1960s and continuing, boasts six of the top 50 universities (in other words, the top 1 percent of all institutions of higher learning) in the nation (Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Davis, Santa Barbara and Irvine).

For public universities, Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego perch in the top 10 in the nation.

But surely this does not count. This ranking just includes U.S. colleges and universities, with their primary students feeding from the absolute lamest, most crippled, corrupt and ruined-by-the-teachers’-unions public education institutions, so they must pale against the systems of higher education in other countries, right?

Webometrics ranks universities worldwide, and somehow 43 of the top 50 universities in the world call the United States home.  Even more inexplicably, institutions in the University of California system, relying most heavily on students from a public school system that some deride as absolutely “dead in a ditch,” hold five of the top 50 spots (Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Davis, Santa Barbara)

Several things come to mind after studying these facts.

First, I don’t ever complain about the tax structure in California, since a family member benefits directly from the university system.

Second, even those without family members directly benefiting should rejoice because these top universities will turn out top graduates more likely to remain in the Golden State to drive the economy and society forward, particularly after spending time in La Jolla and Santa Barbara.

But perhaps we need to examine other issues. Maybe the sloganeering cries claiming a dysfunctional public education system overstate the case when related to the United States in general, and California in particular.

Maybe (gasp!) the public schools staffed by the wicked and corrupt members of the teachers union and the evil self-serving administrators do actually teach some students to excel and drive forward the world-class statistics of these public universities.

Another factoid for those who do not believe the womens’ movement accomplished anything of substance in the last several decades:

Look at the entering class of nearly any college or university in the United States, and you will see approximately 60 percent females.

The meaning? In the near term females will constitute a supermajority of college graduates and, by default, the professional workforce. But that will be the subject of another column.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. His column represents his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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