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Davis, California

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Column: Keep reading

Despite Chancellor Linda Katehi’s and UC President Mark Yudof’s statements encouraging the vote as a voice, I am not in support of the idea that voting is having one’s voice heard. In fact, I believe that what’s more important than voting is the depth behind the education of the issue and what one is willing to do with it.

While I do encourage those who can vote to go and do so, I am far more in support of everyone who can read this to inform themselves regardless; to keep reading, or to start.

Speaking of which, here’s a fact from the UC itself: “In 1990-91 the state funded 78 percent of the total cost of education per student. In 2010-11, the state provided 47 percent.”

Another fact from the UC: Prop. 30 or not, state funding for our public education will continue to fall. “As state support has declined, the students’ share of their education costs, net of financial aid, has tripled, from 13 percent in 1990-91 to 41 percent in 2010-11. As the state’s share falls in 2011-12, the student share will rise further.”

Now after that’s understood, how could we not read more?

After that’s understood, how can we not ask why, and how?

Whether we’re voting or not, in history these elections go down as another critical turning point in what continues to be the most pressing time for students of higher education in California today, whether we’re at Pasadena City College, UC Davis or any other public institution.

Another fact, from USC Annenberg: “During the past two fiscal years, CSU’s state funding was cut by $650 million, causing tuition to rise by 12 percent last year and enrollment to be slashed by 10,000 students.”

To me, reading that links all students together, or it reminds me of that linkage in case I’ve forgotten. And I have forgotten. I do forget. And I’m sure you do too.

But it is not my intention to tell you what to do with this information. Right now it is only my intention to ask that you go and seek the information for yourself and encourage others to do so as well.

That you keep reading, or start, because reading is power.

And I believe the moment we learned how to read, we gained the responsibility to share our voice and its findings, to help others find theirs, and to in turn help each other as a whole in the long journey that is moving society forward.

Here is another fact with regards to state funding, from Death Penalty Focus: “A 2011 study found that California has spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978 and that death penalty trials are 20 times more expensive than trials seeking a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole … California currently spends $184 million on the death penalty each year and is on track to spend $1 billion in the next five years.”

Regardless of where one stands on the death penalty, it is an inarguable fact that it’s more money not going to education.

The links are there.

But don’t take my word for it, research it yourself. Whether you’ve voted already or are going to or not, keep reading, or start, because your voice depends on it and because others depend on your voice.

And keep reading, or start, because soon you will be asked for your opinion; do it because others will still ask for more than your opinion when they ask you to join them somehow.

And do it because you can.

Because no matter how busy you might be, you are a student of the world and you must be informed.

In the days coming up to elections, like Chancellor Katehi and President Yudof, I encourage you to study the issues more.

Taking things one step further, however, I encourage you to keep reading —or start immediately — and to continue do so well after ballots are cast.

I know it’s not easy and that you have tons of reading to do as it is, but the truth is that as we come of age more reading is simply necessary if we’re to be critical contributors to society.

Here’s one last fact. According to the World Literacy Foundation: “[In 2012] one in five adults, or 796 million people, lack basic literacy skills.”

JIMMY RECINOS is writing to administrators; you can help him at jrecinos@ucdavis.edu.

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