Outreach funding more important than ever

    When voters passed Proposition 209 in 1996, they spoke, saying that race should not be a factor in college admissions. Yet whatever your stance on affirmative action, it shouldn’t be hard to recognize the fundamental inequities in our K-12 educational system that make it harder for underrepresented minorities to achieve eligibility for the University of California; these inequities have only become more apparent for black and Latino students since affirmative action was barred, as recent reports have indicated.

    As a result, the university should do what it can to level the playing field for those not lucky enough to attend the Lynbrooks and the Arcadias of the California public school system. University outreach programs, whose budgets have been cut yet again, are one of the university’s only means of affecting the students it will hopefully admit one day. As a public institution, the university and the state government that funds it have an obligation to give everyone an equal opportunity to attend college.

    Granted, K-12 education is the root of the problem, and there’s only so much outreach programs can do to fundamentally improve the quality of education. Nonetheless, they can be a cost-effective means of bridging the gap until California’s K-12 system — now among the worst in the country — can be revamped. In the meantime, by educating students on how to gain eligibility for the University of California, outreach programs can allow any qualified students under the system to take full advantage of California’s world-class higher education system.

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