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Census: More Education Pays Off in CA – Plays into Prop 92 Debate

January 30, 2008

Paso Robles, CA – A new Census Bureau report shows that more education clearly means better pay, with some community college associate's degrees bringing as much earning potential as bachelor's degrees in some fields. That new data is playing into the community college initiative debate over a ballot proposition on community colleges.

Josh Pechthalt has taught at an inner-city Los Angeles high school for more than 20 years. He says Proposition 92 doesn't seem controversial to him because it lowers student fees and increases state investment in community colleges, which he says will open the door to college for more of his students.

"Community colleges for working class children, and working class families, provide the most accessible avenue for a college education."

Pechthalt is affiliated with both the California Federation of Teachers, which supports Proposition 92, and the California Teachers Association, which opposes it. Those against the initiative say they are afraid it will take funding away from K-12 school budgets, although the independent state Legislative Analyst's office agrees with Proposition 92 backers that the measure would increase community college funding while protecting K-12 funding, too.

Paso Robles high school teacher Jim Lynett is also affiliated with both teachers' unions. He says he sees how his students benefit from the satellite community college in his community and says Proposition 92 will mean expanded offerings at the campus.

"Our students use it, and it's helping them get better paying jobs and a better future."

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - CA