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In Defense of the Community Colleges

July 14, 1985

I wonder if Gov. George Deukmejian read the article by Ben Wasserman, "Slow Starter Makes Point About College" (Other Views, June 26) before he axed $73 million from the budget submitted by the Legislature. If he had, perhaps he might not have been so ruthless with that blue pencil of his.

The community colleges have served a vital function in the role of providing post-secondary education to students from a multitude of backgrounds.

If we heed the protests of UCLA seniors reported by David Savage in The Times on May 23, we will acknowledge the fact that four-year institutions such as UCLA, whose main purpose is that of a research facility, do not offer their undergraduates classes taught by experienced faculty in the majority of courses. A lecture hall with 300 students and a television monitor or teaching assistant cannot compare with a dedicated, experienced professional with a class of 30 to 40 students.

The governor is breaking the backs of the community colleges in this state. If he thinks mismanagement at local district levels is a problem, then he should require those districts to be reviewed by a management evaluation team, have their findings made public and take the appropriate action.

To continue to withhold funds from institutions that provide opportunities to people such as Craig Wasserman is to flagrantly deny them equal opportunity under the law. And after all, isn't that what this country is all about?

TONI M. FORSYTH, Director

Transfer Opportunity Program

Los Angeles City College

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