James Flanigan's Nov. 15 column, "Quality Growth Is the Real Issue for California," identified a growing concern shared by many Californians about the need to include quality educational programs in planning the state's economic future. It is not surprising that California is ranked 27th in education spending per pupil. It is estimated that thousands of students will be unable to finance their college educations next fall if government loan and grant programs are cut back. Many parents want their children to attend college, but the hard economic facts reveal that the ever-increasing cost of higher education acts as a deterrent. The cost of higher education skyrockets every year.
The Greek philosopher Diogenes stated, "The foundation of every state is the education of its youth." One of the major reasons students enter college is to increase their economic and social advantage. Education, economically, is good for both the individual and the state. Higher education also produces a trained mind. Education provides our students with the principles that will help them find their way through the problems of tomorrow.
Our education system needs more attention if Southern California is going to develop the manpower and resources needed to meet the demands of a rapidly growing economy. I don't feel that educators are asking for higher taxes, deficit spending or new debt ceilings. Rather, they are asking for a reordering of existing budgets and efficiency. Some critics feel that the cost of education is too great. But Diogenes' words should silence these critics: "If your plan is for one year, plant rice; if it is for 10 years, plant trees, and if it is for a 100 years, educate men." As stockholders in America's government, we need to voice our support of a great long-term investment--education.
Speech Communications Instructor,
California Polytechnic University,