As the Daily Cal reminisces about what it was like in the Summer of Love back in 1967, the Associated Press (via the Chron) took a look back at how California’s dream for free public education has failed.

Free public education? Really? No way! What a concept.

That’s what former UC President Clark Kerr’s dream was—essentially free public education for all California residents.

The AP story shows us how, in the last 40 years, that vision has changed. It tells the story of three different Cal students going to school at different times.

When John Garamendi went to school, it cost about $170 a year. Jeff Chang had to pay $1,300 in the 1980s, and today, well, we all know how much we have to pay for school.

bq. “We are making a fundamental policy error, a strategic policy error in allowing the fees to increase,” says Garamendi, who has children in the UC system and now sits on the system’s governing Board of Regents in his role as lieutenant governor.

The reason for the fee increases comes from the growing expenses the state has to deal with from prisons to infrastructure—and then there’s always Proposition 13.

As the story points out, in 1970, 7 percent of the state’s budget went to UC. Today only 3.5 percent goes to the university.

So essentially, Kerr’s Master Plan has failed, but not because of poor planning.

We’ll never go back to paying $170 per year to go to school in California, but students don’t have to and shouldn’t have to pay higher and higher fees just to get a decent (or world class) education.

Anyone want to take that De Lorean and travel back in time with us?

40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love [Daily Cal]
California dream of free college wilts under fiscal pressure [SF Gate]

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