Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh, yeah, that's what higher ed needs -- a two by four to the head. | News | Goal: Improve education — Baton Rouge, LA
Tucker: “We need you to take a 2-by-4, if that’s necessary, and smack us across the head.”

According to this article in the Advertiser, the commission has not a single new idea. It's all the same old stuff.

Jones presented data showing Louisiana well below the national average in enrollment in two-and four-year institutions, percentage of graduates and percentage of workers with degrees, both from four-year and two-year schools.

"There is no community college in the center of part of the state and as a result, low participation."(What happened to LSUA?)

Commission member James Wharton, former chancellor of LSU's Baton Rouge campus, agreed with presenters who said students would be better served if they attended community colleges prior to enrolling in universities.

Brit Kirwan, chancellor of the University of Maryland System, recommended that college and university systems work with high schools to assure that what's taught in high school to college-bound students aligns with what is taught in college.

Gov. Bobby Jindal agreed "It's not fair to students to start out a career with a huge debt."

Jindal laid out four goals: align degree programs to meet workforce needs; fund universities based on performance (something the Board of Regents has started doing); build on each university's high-performing programs and eliminate low-performing and duplicative programs.

This is the best they can do? All of these so-called solutions have been talked to death for years. The Regents created a community college system less than a decade ago, and it's working. Universities have instituted admissions standards, and they are working. The Regents funds universities based on performance, and that's working. So what do Tucker and Jindal have to add. Let's watch. I predict -- a push to close Southern and Northwestern. Demoting LSUA back to 2-year status.

In other articles Jindal and Tucker have complained about low graduation rates, yet in this article in the Picayune, he says that numbers shouldn't count: "For too many years we have funded based on head count instead of priorities and results,. . . seeking size over excellence."

And it 's interesting that Tucker won't even vouch for his own assertions,
Tucker said there's "widespread belief" that the state's colleges operate inefficiently, that Louisiana has too many universities and too many college boards and that the state has put too much emphasis on four-year colleges and not enough on the two-year schools. He urged panel members to be bold in their recommendations.
I hope that tucker is not recommending that we change higher ed based on "widespread beliefs" instead of facts. What some might describe as "bold" others might see as "unfounded" and "mmendacious."

If you really want to know what Tucker and Jindal want to accomplish, then read the following paragraphs from an article at the WAFB website carefully.
Tucker says another possible solution would be to consolidate some of the state's public four-year schools. "This commission in particular needs to look at issues that we have too many universities, too many boards, racial divides, underperforming universities, duplicate programs, and just general inefficiencies," Tucker added.

Louisiana's current graduation rate is 37%. Governor Jindal says that's the lowest in the region. He and Tucker agree the commission should start by re-evaluating the lowest performing schools in the state. The state school with the lowest graduation rate is Southern University in New Orleans, with about 10%. Nicholls State and UNO are tied for the second lowest rates among the state's four-year public universities at 28%. LSU in Baton Rouge had the best graduation rate at 65%.

There it is -- what schools are close enough to one another to consolidate efficiently? SUNO and UNO? Southern and LSUA&M? Grambling and La Tech? Is there a pattern here?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's new and old at once: The scale to which they want to eviscerate most colleges and preserve/boost select ones (read: LSU usually receiving the lion's share of budgetary funding).