Forget Waldo, where is our education?

Contributor

Illustration by Cris Vaca

Lately, I can’t help but picture this giant, animalistic creature of barbaric characteristics stomping around California snatching each and every communitycollege and university in its path, ripping the foundations of these institutions straight up off the ground, and taking bite after bite before swallowing us all whole.

As our pocketbooks have recently made us realize, a 5 percent increase in tuition fees for the Fall 2010 semester is only the beginning of a long journey backwards.

We’re being robbed by, what I like to call, The Budge Cut Bandit. He’s holding our futures for ransom. He’s forcing our classrooms to shrink at the sight of students. Things are being broken but not replaced and required but not available. We’re being over-charged and underprivileged.

Since when does graduation become more of a futuristic long shot than a soon to be guarantee?

Good riddance to those students attempting to further their academic career with a Spring 2011 transfer.

Thanks to our governor’s and state legislature’s lack of commitment to a specific budget, California State Universities are unable to determine the amount of students they can afford for admittance.

Once the budget is finally approved, there are still no guarantees. If there’s not enough funding to accept the hopeful, eligible students crossing their fingers for a chance at a future, their options are to either forward their admission application to the upcoming semester or withdraw their application altogether.

At this point, enrollment growth might as well be an oxymoron.

At a Los Angeles area Chamber of Commerce meeting Friday, Aug. 27, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed was among other higher education officials discussing the effects of our state’s budget crisis.

“We’re operating with a blindfold on; in regards to how many students we can admit in 2011-2012…there will be something in the neighborhood of 30,000 students wanting to transfer. We’re trying to wait until the mid or latter part of September to decide on admitting those students, based on budget,” Reed said.

The funny thing is, as campuses are taking from financial reserves or even borrowing to cover the overdue state payments, the Los Angeles Unified School District is enjoying a brand new $578 million Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex as of last Monday.

How can a brand new center for learning be financed while thousands of students are being denied their education at institutions that already exist due to a funds deficit?

As we all head full-force into closed-off courses that have reached their full capacity I begin to understand why it’s called “crashing.”

When education hits a stand-still we’re catapulted into the unknown with nothing but the hope of someday becoming more than just struggling students.

We would have better luck just heading back to sixth grade where our biggest problem was trying to find Waldo.

If only our education could wear an obnoxiously obvious red and white striped sweater, then maybe we’d be able to find our sanity.

Megan Magers contributed to this report