Cal State Seeks Education Doctorate to Meet Growing Student Population
LONG BEACH, Calif.
After 41 years of producing many of California’s teachers, the nation’s largest public university system wants to help address the state’s education crisis by offering doctorates in that field.
California State University does not independently offer education doctorates, which some experts see as crucial for administrators in education. A 1960 plan gave CSU the mission of educating teachers and the University of California system the role of distributing doctoral degrees.
The time has come to modify that plan, supporters say, if the state is to meet the challenging needs of a booming student population that is taxing the public schools, community colleges and colleges of education.
Additionally, California has fallen behind the nation in its production of education doctorates.
“We’re going to have a tremendous need for leaders who can promote California school improvement efforts, many of which involve new ideas and concepts that other states haven’t even yet tried,” says David Spence, CSU executive vice chancellor.
CSU is uniquely qualified to address the problem, in part, because of its low cost and numerous campuses, Spence says. CSU could offer doctorates at an estimated $5,000 to $6,000, compared to $15,000 to $16,000 at UC and $45,000 to $50,000 at private universities, he says.
The CSU system, which has more than twice as many campuses as UC, also is geographically located to serve doctoral students in many areas statewide. The system would create a unique program designed to involve more minorities and to respond to the state’s new curriculum standards that would not duplicate UC’s programs, Spence says.
Spence presented the proposal last month to CSU’s board of trustees during its meeting at California State University, Long Beach. The administration doesn’t need the board’s nod to seek legislative approval for its proposal, but several trustees voiced support for it.
A bill by state Sen. Dede Alpert, D-San Diego addresses the issue, and a legislative-sponsored committee currently is revising the 1960 master plan that established the division of duties among the state’s university and college systems.
It’s unknown how long it will take for the bill to be finalized and taken up in the Legislature, but some trustees speculate it could be a couple of years.
The CSU system has the authority to offer doctorates only if it does so jointly with UC or independent universities, but only a few have been established since 1960.
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