Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shortchanging the future — and the present

If you haven't heard yet, our region's biggest driver of higher education could soon be crippled.

San Joaquin Delta College, which serves more than 20,000 students a semester — many of whom are adults trying to improve their education for a shot at a better job or those who simply can't afford a typical four-year university — is staring a 20 percent revenue reduction smack in the face.

And that was before voters rejected the five budget propositions on California's Tuesday special elction ballot.

This is, as they say, not good.

The number of people (see: working-age adults) applying for school in times of recession increases, Delta officials have told me, because higher education offers a way up and out. Delta College's relative affordability and strong academic reputation makes it especially attractive for the just-out-of-work and just-out-of-high-school alike.

Unfortunately, more budget cuts will undermine that part of Delta's mission. And with it, futher erode the quality of education in the Central Valley, a place that can ill afford more bad news when it comes to education and economics.

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