Friday, May 04, 2018

Ronald Brownstein: State Funding To Universities Is Sort Of Decreasing Because The Hate "Kids Of Color"

   God, what crap.
Small-government ideology undoubtedly explains part of this shift. But more academic leaders are openly questioning whether other motivations are contributing to it, too. Michael Sorrell, the dynamic and innovative president of Paul Quinn College, a historically black college in Dallas, is one of them. “There’s an argument to be made that part of the reason we see a reduction in support is because the legislators are looking at the students and not seeing themselves,” he told me at an Atlantic education-policy summit this week. “Listen, it could be an unlikely happenstance that people are reducing the support of public education when the students are increasingly diverse and increasingly low-income. Maybe.”
Ah, the old "some people are asking" argument, together with speculation about the motives of your political enemies. Is there a shittier combination of arguments?
   There's no mention of the fact that college costs are going through the roof. Given that, we'd predict that states would provide a smaller share of their funding. We're not told what funding looks like in absolute dollars. We're not told whether higher ed funding has suffered in comparison to, say, infrastructure spending.
   Furthermore, I rather think that public funding for higher ed ought to decrease. My own university has become a bloated behemoth, packed to the gills with frills and baubles and and restaurants and coffee shops, para-faculty and shadow administrators and petty quasi-counselors. Here we only hear about basically three things: (a) "diversity and inclusion," (b) career training, and (c) "engagement," our institution's newest idiotic obsession. We've basically become an organization for the promotion of leftist ideas packaged up by marketers and represented as the uncontroversial opinions of every right-thinking person. "Engagement" is a new "rubric" (a beloved word hereabouts) for the promotion of (a) lower academic standards and (b) progressive causes. It's another way of shifting our emphasis away from scholarly pursuits and in the direction of (as they say) "relevance." And that means: politically-valenced classes and community service. Guess which end of the spectrum those things tend to lean toward?
   Eh, I'm just fed up with this place. You can't go entirely on my perspective. Especially not right now.
   But: one might consider this response to Brownstein: maybe there is a link between more "kids of color" (eyeroll) and lower funding: both are brought about, in part, by the leftward politicization of universities. 


Blogger Pete Mack said...

Under ACA, there is a requirement that all plans have a medical loss rate--which is to say, actual payment for treatment or drugs--of at least 85%. I have often thought that federal grants, loans, and aid should come with similar limitations at universities.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Jesus Christ that's a good idea.

Though, let me note: that's the general sort of thing we seem to be good at cheating about. By some alchemy, we claim the lowest faculty:administrator ratio in the state. I don't see how the other schools could function at all if that were true.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

The trouble is there are a lot of these coincidences. In Michigan, there is a plan to have a 29 day minimum worm requirement for Medicaid (which pretty well eliminates it for people who are not healthy enough to work full time). There will also be an exception for counties with 8.5% and higher unemployment rates. It is f course only coincidence that those counties happen to be populated with white, Republican, rural Trump voters.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I'd need to see a more systematic review of the evidence to convince me that there's a pattern. Even if the pattern could be established, I'd have to see some reason to count Brownstein's example as a result of the same causes. His argument is so flimsy as to be worth virtually nothing so far as I can tell.

1:19 PM  

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