Consensus Meeting – Public Higher Ed


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The California Master Plan for Higher Education (1960) laid the groundwork for an education system that defined a commitment to higher education access for students in California who graduated from high school. The Plan described a system to provide broad access to public higher education through three coordinated public higher education segments, each with its own set of responsibilities. Those segments include: California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and the University of California. Unfortunately, a change in demographics, education costs, student preparedness, and accessibility to the three education segments has resulted in an outdated and ineffective California Master Plan.

The consensus study for Public Higher Education was initiated by the League of Women Voters California Education Fund (LWVCEF) and distributed to local leagues for discussion and review. The consensus report by the LWV-PA will be forwarded to the State League in April 2016.

After a great panel discussion in February and discussions at the Unit Meetings, the March League Day was dedicated to coming to consensus on the thirty-five questions on Public Higher Education the State Study committee devised for us. After brief introductions to the topics by committee members, discussions of the questions were held at each table and then individual votes were cast. Technology came to our aid in the form of “plicker” cards that allowed us to “vote” and have our answers tabulated immediately.

With two exceptions, we easily reached agreement on the questions, landing on the Strongly Agree or Agree options. The exceptions were questions numbered 3a, “Should the state assume all the costs of higher education,” on which a majority disagreed but not overwhelmingly; and 6b, “Should community colleges offer 4-year programs culminating in bachelor’s degrees,” on which a majority agreed but not by a substantial number.

The committee met on Monday, March 7 to draw up the final consensus report for the state committee. All the results, including the comments, will be reported so they can be added to those of the rest of the local Leagues in the state.

The Committee would like to thank all those who participated in the Consensus.

—Anita Mackey