(LOS ANGELES TIMES)
By Seth Rosenfeld
Once upon a time, the University of California was a sacred trust, the top tier of a model educational system that helped lift the state to unprecedented prosperity. It was jealously protected from outside political interference.
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Now UC is more often described in profane terms. The state's entire higher education system has been under assault for decades — free access is long gone; investment per student has shrunk; some rankings have slipped. The passage of Proposition 30 last year will help repair some of the damage, but UC's stature has been diminished and with it the dream of a truly excellent education for every qualified native son and daughter.
The causes are complex and largely economic, but in an important way, the troubles of the nation's greatest public university can be traced to the ascent of a California icon, Ronald Reagan, and his brand of anti-government conservatism.