Commentary Magazine

Article Preview

Democratic Education for New York:
Equal Opportunity Through a State University System

- Abstract

A combination of diligent effort by alert citizens’ groups with some happy accidents of politics has yielded a state university system in New York. On February 16, the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University, headed by Owen D. Young, submitted its report to the state legislature. Within six weeks, its findings were inscribed on the statute books—along with a law that outlaws racial discrimination in higher education.

As is only too often the case, the enactment of legislation of substantial long-term benefit to the ordinary citizen has been overshadowed by more dramatic political events—the presidential campaign, the grim international situation, etc. Indeed, throughout the struggle for public higher education in New York, those sections of the population that stood most to gain showed the least concern. Yet this successful struggle marks one of the most impressive recent gains toward one of our most fundamental of national aspirations—equality of educational opportunity.

About the Author