Sen. Kerry highlights educational concerns

    Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) spoke at Price Center Plaza on March 30 during his campaign tour of California. Kerry spoke to the audience of 6,000 primarily about the United States’ foreign dependence on oil causing higher gas prices, but also about another issue that has been affecting UCSD students — access to higher education to prepare for a competitive job market where outsourcing jobs has become common.

    Kerry recognized that students are struggling because higher education is becoming less affordable. At the University of California, undergraduate fees will rise at least 10 percent in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2004-05 budget on top of the 30-percent increase made in the last year.

    With this in mind, Kerry touts the “”Service for College”” plan, a worthy initiative through which young adults who perform two years of public service could earn a grant for the equivalent of four years at their state’s public university.

    Students need not only be able to gain access to affordable higher education, but must also be able to compete in the job market of the global economy. In order to prevent more jobs from being exported overseas, the American work force must be expected to uphold a standard of quality not found in other nations.

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    As State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell outlined at the March 17 UC Board of Regents meeting, California students should be required to perform at a higher level while in high school to better adapt to the demands of the job market in a rapidly changing economy. Kerry must continue to make his educational concerns heard throughout the presidential campaign as he did at Price Center this week.

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