Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Squeeze Public Higher Education-- And Watch it Squirm

Make no mistake about it-- a conservative agenda in public higher education, quite similar to the one for public k-12, is steadily progressing across the nation.  The multi-pronged attack includes cutting budgets ("we have no choice-- look at the deficit!"), deriding outcomes ("college is worthless, students are partying"), and applying business models to evaluating success ( c.f. all the efficiency talk).

Today's news is rife with stories suggesting that under attack, public colleges and universities are abandoning their missions, adapting market-centered approaches, fighting with each other, and otherwise jumping ship.

  • A new survey reports that 143 public colleges and universities now have differential tuition -- a policy that seems efficient on its face, but may well further stratify opportunities, leaving behind those with the least information and least ability to pay.

If you weren't alarmed by events last year in Wisconsin, and what they suggested about national trends, you ought to be waking up now.  And assuming you are concerned, come out this week and hear about how public higher education can fight back.  Gary Rhoades is in town, at a visit sponsored by the Wisconsin Academy and the Wisconsin Alumni Association, and he's giving three talks.  Please join us!  The first one is tonight at 7 pm at MMoca.