The State Should Use Community Colleges Only Where They’re Right

Endorsement: Four for Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, including members of UCLA’s Board of Regents.

Background: President Barack Obama has called college graduation the “ultimate act of citizenship.”

This is a good idea, which will create new jobs and will improve graduation rates for low-income students.

It’s good for Los Angeles, which has one of the lowest graduation rates among all major metropolitan areas in the nation. But the community college system is a regional model, and it should use it only where it’s appropriate, like in the Central Valley or a small city like Huntington Beach, which is served by a small number of community colleges.

Opponents: College graduation is not the only measure of success.

If students graduate, they will be less likely to take the bar exam in the future. They’ll be less prepared if they want to practice law, find a job, or start a business. Many might not finish college, and they’ll be less likely to graduate early.

This is a dumb system that serves only the state’s elite, giving students an unjust advantage over those who live and work in more rural parts of the state.

Finance: Taxpayers should spend the money on a better transportation system in lieu of funding public college tuition and fees.

This is a big deal, since it means the state would save $90 to $100 million between now and 2040. And a smart transportation policy would pay for itself over time, since the state’s economy is growing at more than twice the rate of the rest of the nation, which is now contributing to a $70 billion backlog in transportation projects.

Opponents: Not all the money will come from taxpayers, and the state would have to make up for lost revenues.

And that’s what people want. But the state is already funding a program called the Transportation Alternatives Act, which allows cities, counties, and state governments to bid on some of the funding to build a new bridge, tunnel, or freeway.

So, for example, the plan would cost $6 billion, but if the San Diego County transportation agency were to win the contract to build a new bridge, it would get $5 billion.

Opponents: It would take a

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