Opinion by Francesca Bessey, Columnist | Neon Tommy - the online publication of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism | http://bit.ly/PjF5RY
September 24, 2012 | 2:17 a.m. PDT :: The former governor of California is wining and dining with a private university’s elite while the public education system that he let sink struggles not to drown entirely.
Schwarzenegger just gave USC $20 million. (greatdegree, Creative Commons) >>
Yes, that private university is USC.
Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave us $20 million to found his own institute on state and global policy.
Yes, we now boast a former governor/actor/media personality as an honorary professor.
But, as the inaugural USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy is live webcasted from our university’s homepage, California State University is delaying admission decisions because they still don’t know how many students they will be able to afford. California high school seniors are frantically applying for scholarships and financial aid, wondering if higher education is even an option.
According to a U.S. Department of Education ranking of college costs released last June, California has the highest rate of rising tuition at public colleges.
USC, meanwhile, is pursuing an ambitious fundraising campaign of $6 billion by 2018—and is well on its way to getting there. We’re building a new health center and new athletic facilities, renovating our plazas and fountains and are about to embark on multiyear construction of a residential and shopping complex. Private donations are what make this progress possible, but we sure aren’t the ones in dire need of Schwarzenegger’s money right now.
Why doesn’t Schwarzenegger spend his absurd amount of extra cash on rectifying the public education disaster that was fueled, in part, by budget cuts made under his administration? Five years ago, the California budget crisis was bad. Many would argue that Schwarzenegger had no choice but to slash public education.
His decision to pump money into the private sector rather than help out the floundering public system, however, doesn’t make any sense. By founding an institute on state and global policy, Schwarzenegger seems to be branding himself a political elder of sorts. But his advice: it sucks. You don’t abrogate a financial catastrophe by giving money to those who have plenty while leaving the needy to die.
Ultimately, that $20 million is Arnold’s to do with what he will. And, sure, his decision will be great for USC students.
But seriously: he’s a former governor. He’s supposed to be in touch with the needs of his constituents. If he makes this kind of decision now, what the hell was his thought process in the driver’s seat?
●●smf: FROM WIKIPEDIA - In 1977, Schwarzenegger's autobiography/weight-training guide Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder was published and became a huge success. After taking English classes at Santa Monica College in California [ a public community college], he earned a BA by correspondence from the University of Wisconsin–Superior, [a public state university] where he graduated with a degree in international marketing of fitness and business administration in 1979.