California needs a new higher education master plan to replace the "obsolete" guiding principles state leaders embraced more than 50 years ago, and the new approach should embrace online education so the state is once again an innovator rather than the "reluctant follower" it has become, argues a new report from an influential state agency. The report from the Little Hoover Commission, "A New Plan for a New Economy: Reimagining Higher Education," paints a critical picture of the current state of higher education in California, with a need to produce many more citizens with college credentials at a time when the state has "finite resources for higher education."
Among its many recommendations, the panel urges that lawmakers provide "incentives for developing online courses for high-demand introductory courses, bottleneck prerequisite courses and remedial courses that demonstrate effective learning. To qualify, the course must be able to be awarded course and unit credit, at a minimum, at all California community colleges, or all California state universities, or all campuses of the University of California. Better yet would be courses that would be awarded credit at any campuses of all three segments. Courses could be designed by private or nonprofit entities according to college and university criteria."