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Links of the week

Pension Cutters: Bipartisan Slogans, Right-Wing Money
A look at the truth behind San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s push to slash public worker pensions, including CalPERS. Most of his funding for an anti-pension ballot initiative is coming from conservative forces including Texas billionaire John Arnold, venture capitalist Michael Moritz and former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan. — Frying Pan News

Scorecard for Scorecards
Sixteen states have begun funding public colleges based at least partially on student outcomes like degree production and completion rates. Supporters of performance-based funding now include President Obama, who wants to link his planned college ratings system to federal financial aid. Gary Rhoades worries that the completion agenda is incomplete and even counterproductive. Rhoades, a professor of higher education at the University of Arizona, also directs a virtual think tank, the Center for the Future of Higher Education. He said the report places “thoughput” – the production of graduates and degrees – over academic quality. — Inside Higher Ed

Issue Brief: Wall Street & California’s Student Debt Crisis
Executive Summary: This brief shows large student loan debt increases in California since the 2004-05 school year. Further, we show that the whole public higher education sector — not just students — is paying more than ever to Wall Street. By the academic year ending in 2009/10, California’s public colleges and universities were spending more than $1 billion a year on interest alone for bonds and institutional borrowing. Meanwhile, spending on instruction declined in the California State University (CSU) and community college systems. Spending on auxiliary services, including amenities like dorms and recreation centers, however, increased rapidly. Expansion of such amenities is often financed using bonds marketed by Wall Street banks. — Center on Culture, Organizations & Politics