You do understand the basic premise that tax payer funded education is not actually free don't you?
I imagine the situation with the college system in California is far more complex than you seem to think it is, but I did look up some information on it. Reagan didn't implement tuition for students in the california college system. He tried, but was defeated. He did implement some fees, which were relatively small. They did increase as time went along, but that was much later. And no governor since, republican or democrat has made any serious effort to eliminate them. California is a very blue state, yet the citizens of the state aren't willing to pay the taxes necessary to fund a no fee/no tuition system of higher education. If you want to blame someone for that, then you should blame the california voters, because its something they don't want. And Reagan did what the voters wanted him to do. Democracy sucks doesn't it.
Ummm, the education system in every state is taxpayer funded from K-12 grades. Are you against taxpayer funded education systems in general? If so, how exactly would you propose putting your kids through the public school system?
The system worked in California for 100 years because corporate tax rates were where they should be relative to their profits, because people paid income taxes based upon what their income was. Reagan was the forefather of the the rich getting richer and the end of those rich paying their fair share of income taxes. It's a pretty easy concept- when corporate taxes and income taxes were an equitable system the state of California flourished and it's higher education system did as well as it's K-12 system.
The utter collapse of the public education system in this country can be directly attributed to the reduction of corporate tax rates and the increasing tax breaks for the rich. It is a simple premise, you're right.