Lawyers, Nurses, and Priorities in the University of California

(Or, why the University of California has its priorities backwards):

From the September 2007 issue of Governing: 

California is home to slightly more nurses than lawyers, but that's about to change. According to state projections, there will be a glut of attorneys by 2014 60,000 more lawyers than the legal system requires.

Meanwhile, a backlog of nursing applicants awaits admission into California universities, creating a serious shortfall of nurses that is only going to get worse. In seven years, California expects to have about 40,000 fewer nurses than its hospitals and health clinics need.

There would seem to be a pretty simple response to this supply and demand mismatch: begin building more nursing schools. That's not what the regents of the University of California have in mind, however. The prestigious state system wants a new law school at its Irvine campus, in order to help crack UC Irvine into the top 1 percent of universities worldwide. When the plan came up before the California Postsecondary Education Commission earlier this year, the panel voted against the idea. "If you were going to build a nursing school," Commissioner Evonne Schultze told UC's provost, "I would come and help you lay the bricks because we need nurses desperately."

Read the rest of the story here: