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How We Survive: The ‘Crisis’ in Public Education


UC Berkeley fee hike protest

On November 18, 2009, Students faculty and staff at UC Berkeley protested tuition fee increases by the UC Board of Regents. Photo courtesy MCT, via

State budgets are strapped and deep cuts to public programs continue.  No system is on the chopping block more than public education. On this edition, we continue our series, How We Survive. This week? It’s a time of crisis in higher education. And as administrators cast an eye toward privatization, students are mobilizing for change, and a voice in the system.


Zachary Levenson, UC Berkeley Graduate School student and TA; Mark G. Yudof, University of California President; Laura Nader, UC Berkeley professor; Bob Meister, UC Santa Cruz professor; Wael Elasady, Portland State University student & protest organizer; Jonathan Sanford, PSU’S student body president; Jim Francesconi, Oregon State Board of Higher Education Vice President; Zaki Bucherest, PSU student activist; Adam Sanchez, PSU graduate student & primary school teacher; Christopher Newfield, PhD, UC Santa Barbara Professor & author of ‘Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class’.

Some audio in this show was excerpted from the film “Occupied Berkeley: The Taking of Wheeler Hall” produced by David Martinez and Brandon Jourdon.

Beyond Wheeler: UC Voices for Education as a Public Good

The University of California system is known around the world as one of the most successful models of publicly-funded higher education. In 1960, UC President Clark Kerr spearheaded the groundbreaking California master plan for higher education, seeking to make a quality education accessible to all. Yet some 50 years later, some say the foundation of public education is being dismantled through fee hikes and corporate funding.  Making Contact’s Pauline Bartolone has more about UC Berkeley folks who are trying to stand in the way of privatizing what was meant to be public.

Portland State University, Inc. 

Like other states across the country, Oregon is struggling with the question of how to fund higher education in a time of massive budget cuts.  The Portland State University PSU, has increased class sizes, and made deep cuts to student programs and teacher pay. But recently PSU’s president proposed a new model to solve the university’s budget woes: incorporation. Jenka Soderberg from KBOO has more.

Author Offers a History of the Privatization of Public Education

From raising fees to privatizing entire universities, nationwide, there is a variety of ways that privatizing public college education is taking place. As we’ve heard, the dismantling of California’s public system has been going on for decades.  Dr. Christopher Newfield wrote a whole book about it. He’s a Professor of English at UC Santa Barbara and author of ‘Unmaking the Public University: the Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class.” He’s currently in France where he’s working for the Education Abroad Program for the University of California.

For more information:

National Education Association
Washington, DC

Portland State University
Portland, OR

Save Cal Now
Berkeley, CA

Solidarity Alliance

Articles, Blogs, Films, Reports:

‘Budget Cuts Dimming Bright Futures
By Laura Christmas, Tampa Bay Online

CUNY Campaign to Defend Education (CCDE)

‘Occupied Berkeley: The Taking of Wheeler Hall’
by Brandon Jourdon and David Martinez

Professor Christopher Newfield Blog

Recession Realities in Higher Ed (Blog)
By Ray Schroeder, Professor Emeritus University of Illinois at Springfield

Reclamations Journal

Remaking the University (Blog)

Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class
A book by Christopher Newfield

Author: radioproject

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