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need for high-level research or professional training. Rather
than follow that assignment, however, the state colleges and
universities chose to pursue the Holy Grail of the Ph.D. I
think they would have been much better off if they’d accepted
their polytechnic assignment at that time than going in the
direction they did.
Anyway, the effect was to provide
more opportunity in an increasingly
egalitarian society, to have more
polytechnic training in a society that is
more and more a polytechnic society,
and then, third, to have basic research
and professional training, all done well by
having different segments concentrate on
different parts of it.
And I might say that, for a while
at least, California was offering more
equality of opportunity than any place else
in the world. I think we could ague that
with the University of California, Caltech,
Stanford and USC, we were offering
as high a quality of basic research and
professional training as any part of the world, too. The one
place where we fell down somewhat, and where the Japanese
and Germans were moving ahead fast, was in the polytechnic
area.
PC: How important is the accessibility of the system?
Some suggest that the way to deal with the financial
pressures is for California higher education simply to serve
a smaller percentage of the population than it has in the
past.
CK
:
I think that would be a mistake in the long run. I
think there’s an obligation to the polity, to the political society,
to give people, whether they want to take advantage of it or
not, some chance to move up in society, which these days
really means getting something more than a high school
education.
Now, if that doesn’t pay people economically, they won’t
necessarily do it. But I think we have to provide this sense
that there’s an opportunity to go to college if you want to
and if you think it’s going to pay for you. Also, to operate
as a citizen and as a consumer in the modern society takes
a lot more skill than it once did. People are advantaged in
the conduct of their lives by having education beyond high
school, and not just in terms of getting jobs.
The expanding part of the labor force has been in
the areas of technical training, administrative positions,
professional positions, scientific positions. That’s been
going up all over the world. In countries like the United
States, Sweden and Germany, 30 percent of the employed
population is in these high-level skilled areas. And that’s
going to go up, not down.
I think there will be a need and a demand for higher
education and higher levels of education across the board,
for political and economic interests both. So I don’t think
we should shut down opportunity. I think it’s much more
important to make good use of our resources and not just
say we’re going to add more of what we’re already doing and
make it a problem about money alone. I think it’s a question
of some more money, but also much better use of the
resources we have.
At the present time we have so many inefficiencies. The
senior year in high school is a goof-off year, a year out of
your life. We have an awful lot of duplication among our
institutions of higher education in what they supply. We
allow people to drag on their undergraduate careers five and
six years. Ph.D.s six, eight, twelve or more years. I also think
inefficiency is caused by the flight from teaching. I don’t think
the flight from teaching has done very much to increase the
quality of research in the United States, but it certainly has
reduced the use of faculty talent on the training side.
So I would say, keep the doors open. If people don’t think
it’s going to pay them to walk through those doors, they won’t
do it. We should say we are going to keep those doors open,
particularly with newminorities coming along, and we aren’t
going to finance this entirely with new funds, we’re going
to finance it very substantially by better use of our existing
resources.
PC: So it sounds like you are saying we have a lot of self-
searching to do before we start turning away students.
CK
: But more before we start saying, “If you don’t give us
more resources, we won’t take any more students.” Before we
say that, I think we have to explore very thoroughly whether
we’re making the best use of the resources we have, and I do
not think we can prove that.
PC: So the reduction of opportunity is the last resort.
CK
: Right. I’m not saying everybody is going to use that
opportunity.
PC: No, and that’s never happened in the past either.
CK
: It’s never happened in the past. But I just think it’s
very important for domestic tranquility for us to keep the
doors open. I just think it would be disastrous, particularly
at this stage of demographic change in California and the
nation, to say, all of a sudden, we’re going to close doors to
opportunities which were open for the population as it was
composed in times past, but they’re not open to the new
population.
PC: It also sounded like you were saying that at least a
substantial portion
of the resources
to meet these new
needs are already in
the system, and we
have to find them
and use them better.
CK
: Yes, I must
say as a broad
generalization that
we ought to be able
to find within higher
education at least a
third of the necessary
additional resources
The expanding part
of the labor force has
been in the areas of
technical training,
administrative
positions,
professional positions,
scientific positions.
I think there will be
a need and a demand
for higher education
and higher levels of
education across the
board, for political
and economic
interests both.