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Berkeley's State Reps Among Highest Educated

California leads the nation in the percent of state legislators who are college graduates, with many educated at UC Berkeley. Berkeley's representatives both hold master's degrees.

California's legislature may have earned an F in budget-setting in recent years, but it's first in the class when it comes to having college degrees.

Our state leads the nation in the percentage of state legislators who are college graduates, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education study published last year. The survey found that 89.9 percent of California solons have at least one degree, compared to last-place New Hampshire with 53.4 percent. (It may possibly be relevant that California's 120 legislators are full-time, while New Hampshire's 424 are part-time.)

Representing Berkeley in the state Assembly is Nancy Skinner, who is among the 48 percent of California legislators with college education beyond a bachelor's degree. She holds a BS degree in natural resources and a master's in education, both from UC Berkeley.

State Senator Lori Hancock, who represents Berkeley and is married to Mayor Tom Bates, has a BA from Ithaca College in New York and an master's from the Wright Institute in Berkeley. 

The largest source of college degrees for California legislators is UCLA (13 members of the legislature), followed by UC Berkeley (9), UC Davis and Harvard tied for third and fourth (7), and UC Santa Barbara (6).

New York ranked fourth in the country, with 86.8 percent of its 212 full-time legislators holding at least a bachelor's degree. New York outpaced California in the percent with college education beyond a bachelor's, 56 percent compared to 48.

Below are the Chronicle of Higher Education's lists of the top five and bottom five states in the nation, followed by the top 10 sources of degrees for California legislators.

Top 5 States:

1. California            89.9% 2. Virginia 88.6% 3. Nebraska 87.3% 4. New York 86.8% 5. Texas 86.2%

Bottom 5 States:

46. Arkansas 60.4% 47. New Mexico 59.7% 48. Delaware 59.7% 49. Maine 58% 50. New Hampshire 53.4%

Where California's 120 state legislators went to college:

1. UCLA 13 2. UC Berkeley 9 3. UC Davis 7 4. Harvard 7 5. UC Santa Barbara  6 6. San Diego State 5 7. Cal State Fresno 5 8. Univ. of Southern California  5 9. UC Riverside 4 10. San Jose State 4

Do you think a college degree should be mandatory for state government? Why? Why not? Let us know in the comments.

Milan Moravec January 06, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Like Berkeley's State reps every qualified California student should get a place in University of California (UC) system. That's a desirable goal for a public university. However, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau displaces Californians qualified for education at Cal. with foreigners paying $50,600 tuition. Paying more is not a better education. UC tuition increases exceed the national average rate of increase. Birgeneau has doubled instate tuition/fees. Birgeneau jeopardizes access to Cal by making it the most expensive public university. UC President Mark Yudof uses tuition increases to pay for faculty & administrator salary increases. Payoffs like these point to higher operating costs and still higher tuition and taxes. Instate tuition consumes 14% of Cal. Median Family Income. President Yudof is hijacking our families’ and kids’ futures: student debt. I agree that Yudof and Birgeneau should consider the students' welfare & put it high on their values. Deeds unfortunately do not bear out the students' welfare values of Birgeneau, Regent Chairwoman Lansing and President Yudof. We must act. Birgeneau’s campus police deployed violent baton jabs on students protesting Birgeneau’s tuition increases. The sky will not fall when Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) ‘honorably’ retires. Opinions to UC Board of Regents, email marsha.kelman@ucop.edu

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