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Got the Monday blues? Start your week off right with a helping of useful information and informed opinion. 

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For the Week of May 09, 2011

state of emergency

A week of action by California’s teachers and other public workers starts today, with round-the-clock demonstrations in Sacramento. “After 3 years of massive budget cuts ($20 billion from education alone), California is in a state of emergency,” say the teachers. Demonstrations this coming Friday (4-6pm) are planned for Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Bernardino and San Diego. Learn more at their website or friend them on Facebook.

The state budget process is in flux, and there is talk of another $500 million in cuts for the UC system, on top of the $500 million in Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget. The Daily Californian reports that UC President Mark Yudof said before a state budget committee hearing on Friday that a cut of $1 billion would be “devastating.” The governor has said that under such an “all cuts” budget, UC tuition could rise to $20,000 or $25,000.

UC Santa Barbara faculty member Chris Newfield makes an impassioned case for the value of a public education in his just-published blog, “We Need UC Uncut.”

Hunger strikers at UC Berkeley entered their seventh day in front of the administration building. They are protesting elimination of staff positions in the Ethnic Studies Department, which was recommended by the “UC Berkeley Operational Excellence” report, otherwise known as “the Bain report.” Bain & Company has drawn criticism and the staff positions eliminated move it one step closer to collecting its $7.5 million payoff.

While California students are finding it harder to get into the state’s public universities, UC continues to ramp up its efforts to attract the more lucrative market of out-of-state students, and is also considering charging students different tuitions depending on which campus they attend.

Opponents of public employee pensions continue to gather signatures for two ballot measures that would reduce benefits to state workers, according to the Los Angeles Times. Critics say the efforts are based on falsehoods and are attempts to scapegoat public workers.  Last month, the independent, nonpartisan California Watch reported that a secret, out-of-state donor was behind the “pension reform” efforts. ____________________________________________________________________________________

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