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Center News

October 14, 1998


San Francisco - A nationally respected higher education expert has called on the next governor of California to take leadership in supporting a comprehensive plan for all of California education - from pre-kindergarten through graduate school, according to a new report released today in San Francisco where the candidates for governor prepare for their fourth statewide televised debate on the challenges facing California.

The report, The Challenges Facing California Higher Education, A Memorandum to the Next Governor of California, noted that such planning would emphasize regional collaboration among colleges, universities and public schools. The report was written by David W. Breneman, University Professor and Dean of the Curry School of Education of the University of Virginia.

According to Breneman, "A new California Master Plan focusing on all formal education could lead the way for the rest of the states in the same way that California's famous and successful 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education provided national and international leadership. Such a plan could address concerns about linkages, collaborations and other formal and informal relationships between colleges and surrounding public schools."

In preparing this report, Breneman met with key state and education officials and reviewed major reports and projections that have been made by state agencies and independent organizations such as the California Citizens Commission on Higher Education, RAND and the California Higher Education Policy Center. Breneman found that California lacks an overall plan for dealing with enrollment growth despite agreement by most state and higher education leaders on the need to plan for enrolling one-half million new students, according to the report.

"A common concern expressed among policy and education leaders was the need for strong state leadership in higher education," Breneman said. "Were the next governor to minimize the distinctions among the three public segments of higher education and, instead, focus on serving the higher education needs of geographic regions-including

K-12 education as a full partner, one suspects that one of the significant outcomes would be the development of a new Master Plan better suited to meet the needs of 21st century students," he said.

A report released along with the Breneman study summarized the findings of an expert panel on California's projected enrollment growth for the next decade. Tidal Wave II Revisited: A Review of Earlier Enrollment Projections for California Higher

Education finds a consensus among most forecasters that California must plan to accommodate almost 540,000 additional students by 2005-06 if it is to maintain its current policy of college opportunity for all eligible students. A three-person panel that included Gerald C. Hayward, an expert of California public schools, Breneman, an economist, and Leobardo F. Estrada, a demographer and UCLA professor, prepared the report.

"Despite consensus from education leaders and state agencies on the need to plan for a surge in enrollment numbers, there has been little discussion by the political leadership of the state on how best to move forward," said Patrick M. Callan, President of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. "We hope that by releasing these reports right before the fourth, statewide, televised debate tomorrow evening, it will allow for some candid discussion by the gubernatorial candidates on how they see the future of higher education in the state moving forward," he said.

The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education was established in 1998 to promote the public interest regarding opportunity, affordability and quality in American higher education. As an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, the National Center provides action-oriented analyses of state and federal policies affecting education beyond high school. The National Center receives financial support from a consortium of national philanthropic organizations, and is not affiliated with any institution of higher education or with any government agency.


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© 1998 The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

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