At the “consensus” meeting on March 15, League members discussed and responded to the California League’s policy questions. The additional comments added by participants are often more interesting then the responses to the questions themselves, since members could only indicate their views on a scale from, for example, “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” or the like. The questions posed in the state study were mostly very directed by the way they were presented. Apparently, the state committee’s main concern was to get agreement on positions they had already assumed would help to the state League in future. They were not the wide-ranging policy discussions that League members enjoy most.
Click to read the full report here: LWVBAE Higher Education Study Consensus as Submitted April 2016.
Participants strongly stated in the additional comments that to get broader participation by members, study questions like those presented in this study could have been answered through an on-line survey–with brief background material provided before each question or set of questions. This approach would be better adapted to working and busy members and would preserve the League’s tradition of grassroots participation more effectively.
Here is a selective summary of some of the findings: the group endorsed all the purposes of CA higher education stated in the 1950 CA Master Plan: to educate students for their personal, professional, and occupational goals, to provide leaders from all sectors of society, to promote upward mobility, to advance economic and civic goals of local communities and the state and to tempahsize the dual values of access and excellence of the Master plan.
Participants agreed that equitable access was important, that state higher education should be affordable to students and supported by the state. Counseling and a wide variety of supportive services, including special tutoring or classes to bring students who are not ready for university level classes up to the appropriate level. Better coordination between high schools and community colleges and four year institutions are also essential. Student and school performance needs to be recorded and analyzed so that areas of success and failure in meeting these goals can be identified.
The decisions by the members and local study committee members at the March 15 meeting. were approved by the Board on March 24 meeting and submitted to the state League. LWVBAE’s decisions will thus help shape the official policy positions on public higher education as they are consolidated with the submissions of other CA Leagues. The state board will then adopt new policy positions of Public Higher Education. These will form the basis for future lobbying and positions of ballot measures and proposed legislation.
You may also want to take a look at the Study Guide by clicking Higher-Education-Study-Guide-Complete
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