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Perry and the Profs - He picked the right fight
Weekly Standard ^ | 9-19-2011 | Andrew Ferguson - Commentary

Posted on 09/10/2011 9:08:18 AM PDT by smoothsailing

Perry and the Profs

He picked the right fight.

Andrew Ferguson

September 19, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 01

If you want a glimpse of the way Rick Perry operates as an executive and a politician, consider the issue of higher education reform in Texas, which no one in Texas knew was an issue until Perry decided to make it one.

In his 30-year public career, Perry​—​how to put this delicately?​—​has shown no sign of being tortured by a gnawing intellectual curiosity. “He’s not the sort of person you’ll find reading The Wealth of Nations for the seventh time,” said Brooke Rollins, formerly Perry’s policy director and now president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a free-market research group closely allied with Perry. At Texas A&M he majored in animal science and escaped with a grade point average a bit over 2.0. (Perry’s A&M transcript was leaked last month to the left-wing blog Huffington Post by “a source in Texas,” presumably not his mom. How his GPA compares with Barack Obama’s is unknown, since no one in higher education has thought to leak Obama’s transcript to a right-wing blog.)

Perry expends his considerable intelligence instead on using political power and, what amounts to the same thing, picking fights with his political adversaries. When Rollins came to Perry in 2007 with a radical and comprehensive proposal to overhaul higher education in the state, Rollins says the governor quickly understood the potential of the issue, not only politically but on its merits. The state operates more than 100 colleges, universities, technical schools, and two-year community colleges, organized into six separate systems. As in other states, public higher education in Texas is scattered, expensive, poorly monitored, and top heavy with administrators, even as it subjects students to often large annual tuition increases without a compensatory increase in educational quality.

Perry’s first poke at this sclerotic establishment came early in his first term. He suggested converting the money that the state gives to public colleges and universities into individual grants handed straight to students. Money is power, and Perry’s idea was to place the power in the hands of “consumers,” as he put it, rather than the administrators, to increase competition among schools and thereby lower costs and increase quality. “Young fertile minds [should be] empowered,” he said at the time, “to pursue their dreams regardless of family income, the color of their skin, or the sound of their last name.”

The higher ed establishment, led by regents of the University of Texas system, rebelled, and the legislature, well-wired with the system’s allies, agreed, and the proposal died. But Perry continued to poke. College graduation rates in Texas are unusually low, and the gaps among whites, blacks, and Hispanics are unusually high. Nationwide 38 percent of American adults (age 25-64) have a post-secondary degree; in Texas the figure is 31 percent. So Perry proposed “Outcomes-based Funding,” tying the amount of aid a school receives to the number of students it graduates. To keep a school from lowering its standards to increase its graduation rates, he suggested giving an exit exam to all students receiving a B.A. Students wouldn’t have to pass the exam to get their degree, but the information yielded by such a test​—​how much learning is going on around here?​—​would be useful, mostly to reformers. The proposal was seen, correctly, as a threat to the status quo, which has so far successfully fought it off.

The proposals Rollins brought to Perry in 2007 turned on the same themes of​—​apologizing in advance for the buzzwords​—​accountability and transparency: collecting information about how much students learn and how well schools function, and holding the schools responsible for the results. “His priority has been putting students back into the driver’s seat,” Rollins said. Perry said he hoped to apply the cost-benefit logic of business to public higher education. He incorporated Rollins’s ideas into a package of reforms and called a “higher education summit” to build support.

The reforms attacked the establishment from multiple angles. They would require schools to expand their websites to make vast amounts of new information available to students. For the first time, professors would be required to post course syllabi online. To suss out slackers among the faculty, schools would post every teacher’s salary and benefits along with the average number of students and course hours they taught every year. A summary of student evaluations would be posted too, and the average number of As and Bs professors handed out, to guard against grade inflation. Before choosing a particular school or enrolling in a major, students would be given a list of the specific skills or knowledge that they could expect to learn, as well as the average starting salaries of students who had graduated from a similar course of study. 

Perry also suggested separating teaching budgets from research budgets, as a way of encouraging teachers to teach and researchers to do research. Tenure would be granted only to teachers who spent a large majority of their time teaching; a defined percentage of tenure jobs would go to researchers, who would concentrate on pure research. A system of cash awards and other incentives would compensate professors who successfully taught a large number of students.

Any businessman in a profit-seeking enterprise would see ideas like “pay for performance” as unremarkable, but they overwhelm the delicate sensibilities of people who have spent their professional lives on campus, where the word “nonprofit” is meant to act as a firewall against the unpleasantness of commercial life. “Texas Governor Treats Colleges Like Businesses,” headlined the Chronicle of Higher Education​—​a sentence sure to induce aneurysms in faculty lounges from El Paso to Galveston. The outrage was deafening, especially when university regents began acting on the recommendations. The Texas A&M system, for example, which includes a dozen schools, posted a spreadsheet on its website evaluating teacher performance on a cost-benefit basis. 

“Very simplistic and potentially very dangerous,” an official of the American Association of University Professors said. “This is .  .  . simplistic,” said the dean of faculties at A&M. “Simplistic,” said the Houston Chronicle. A group of former regents and wealthy school boosters organized a pressure group to oppose -Perry’s reforms. The group hired Karen Hughes, a close aide to the second President Bush, as press spokesman. The rage at Perry from within the establishment has taken many forms: You think it’s easy stealing someone’s college transcript?

The protests might have been more effective except that Perry, for the last decade, has been seeding Texas higher education with like-minded reformers (cronies too). By 2009 he had appointed every regent in the state. The chancellor of A&M who issued the cost-benefit report, for example, was a former chief of staff of the governor. At least three campus presidents have been pressured to resign in recent years, to make way for Perry appointees​—​all Republican businessmen. A particularly popular (and vocal) vice president of student affairs at the University of Texas was removed and replaced by .  .  . a retired Marine Corps general.

The appointees weren’t as pliant as Perry might have wished. The implementation of the reforms has been difficult and at times dilatory. Perry barrels on. In his state of the state address this spring, he urged administrators to develop a four-year bachelor’s degree that would cost less than $10,000 “including textbooks.” The discount degree, he said, would be a “bold, Texas-style solution” to the problem of rapidly rising tuition. (The average in-state cost of a four-year degree in Texas, including books, is roughly $30,000.) After the goal was declared impossible by Perry’s critics, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board published a plan to lower costs dramatically: greater use of online classes and “open-source” course materials, accelerated or staggered student schedules, fuller integration of four- and two-year colleges, and more. 

 

Perry’s admirers praise his sure-footedness​—​his ability to sense cultural trends before others do and turn them to his political advantage. He was the first national politician to ally himself to the Tea Party movement in 2009, a move that’s just now paying off. He caught the mounting anxiety among middle-income parents about college costs early on. Most American parents now say that a college degree will be essential for their children’s future success; at the same time, according to a new Pew Foundation poll, only 22 percent of Americans believe that most people can afford to send their kids to college. And 57 percent describe the quality of American higher education as “only fair” or “poor.” To address this anxiety Perry’s opponents offer more government subsidies, which in turn provide an incentive for schools to raise their prices​—​an attempt to douse the fire with gasoline. Perry’s ideas are cheaper, more comprehensive, more imaginative, and more likely to work.

And they have a good chance of being put into action. In late August, Perry scored another significant, if partial, victory. The University of Texas regents approved an “action plan” proposed by the system’s chancellor, who isn’t a Perry appointee. The plan is a compromise, but it incorporates many of Perry’s ideas, including some of the most radical, such as “pay for performance” and “learning contracts” between schools and their students. Amazingly, the plan has won support from both the right (Brooke Rollins’s Texas Public Policy Foundation) and left (Karen Hughes’s group). 

Reforms like these would have been unthinkable 10 years ago, before Perry picked up his stick and started poking the system until it had to respond. It’s been a remarkable display of political entrepreneurship: Create an issue, define it on your terms, cultivate public support, and your opponents, who never saw it coming, will have to go along, even if only partway​—​at first.

Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard and the author, most recently, of Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: perry; texas
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1 posted on 09/10/2011 9:08:21 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Thanks for posting this.


2 posted on 09/10/2011 9:12:57 AM PDT by sunshine state
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To: smoothsailing

Good! I haven’t decided on Perry, but I’m sick to death of leftist academics guiding the destruction of this country and culture. I welcome all conservatives to the fight.


3 posted on 09/10/2011 9:35:55 AM PDT by pallis
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To: smoothsailing

bttt


4 posted on 09/10/2011 9:42:09 AM PDT by TEXOKIE (Anarchy IS the strategy of the forces of darkness!)
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To: smoothsailing

The bottom line is that Texas, which has some of the lowest (publicly-funded) college tuition rates in the nation, for both in- and out-of-state students did not maintain that distinction by accident or by spending a lot of taxpayer money. Perry made sure actual costs stayed low, instead of letting them balloon as in other states.


5 posted on 09/10/2011 9:46:01 AM PDT by Zhang Fei (Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.)
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To: Zhang Fei

That the money spent and quality of education are not directly related has been shown many times.


6 posted on 09/10/2011 10:08:06 AM PDT by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: smoothsailing

Perry, the anti-obama. That’s all I need to know.


7 posted on 09/10/2011 10:16:11 AM PDT by spawn44 (spawn44)
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To: smoothsailing

Thanks for getting this info out, smoothsailing!

I really like what Rick Perry has been doing for higher education.

I LOVE the Western Governor’s University where he worked with other governors to propose and implement a low cost educational alternative to higher ed students and to those already in the work force. I have never seen a university set up like that either, distance learning or otherwise.

Here is a youtube video of Rick Perry announcing the start of Western Governors University of Texas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRSlRXikEbQ

Here is the website for Western Governors University Texas:

http://texas.wgu.edu/

I also like the “College Credit for Heroes” program Rick Perry put into place in Texas which, I haven’t forgotten smoothsailing, I learned about first from you here at FR! LOL

Thanks to this program, military men and women don’t have to spend additional time and money getting re-educated (or better educated) to re-enter the private workforce. With Texas colleges and universities offering quicker routes through a degree based on military experience and courses or classes taken while they were serving our country, this program is a sensible way of keeping college costs down for military active duty, veterans, and retired military people. It just makes sense. Plus, I like it personally because it’s just another note of military support which Rick Perry has always shown (the ONE area where I associate him very much with G.W. and his love for military men and woman). Can you tell we are retired military? LOL

I know you know about this, smoothsailing, but if anyone else was interested and wanted to know more about this program, here is Rick Perry’s announcement of the College Credit for Heroes Program:

http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/16375/

Here’s a direct link to the youtube video where Rick Perry announced the College Credit for Heroes Program.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzfw3lYPI-E&feature=player_embedded


8 posted on 09/10/2011 10:19:00 AM PDT by casinva (Maybe it's time to have some provocative language. (PERRY / CAIN 2012)
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To: shield

ping


9 posted on 09/10/2011 10:19:21 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Yep, Perry may have been a bit ham-fisted about it, but he sure picked a good issue here.


10 posted on 09/10/2011 10:30:28 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; RoosterRedux; jonrick46; deepbluesea; RockinRight; TexMom7; potlatch; ...
Perry Ping....

IF you'd rather NOT be pinged FReepmail me.

IF you'd like to be added FReepmail me. Thanks.

11 posted on 09/10/2011 10:33:33 AM PDT by shield (Rev 2:9 Woe unto those who say they are Judahites and are not, but are of the syna GOG ue of Satan.)
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To: pallis

Perry/Rubio would be tough to beat, IMO.


12 posted on 09/10/2011 10:38:09 AM PDT by ExTexasRedhead
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To: smoothsailing

Thanks. That’s helpful as I’m still undecided.


13 posted on 09/10/2011 10:38:52 AM PDT by keats5 (Not all of us are hypnotized.)
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To: smoothsailing

Something I didn’t know about Governor Perry. Very very impressive, to say the least.


14 posted on 09/10/2011 10:43:41 AM PDT by shield (Rev 2:9 Woe unto those who say they are Judahites and are not, but are of the syna GOG ue of Satan.)
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To: smoothsailing
Very interesting. Adds a dimension to Perry that has not been publicized. It takes courage to poke the educrat establishment, much less see concrete results.
15 posted on 09/10/2011 10:54:59 AM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: smoothsailing

Very good! Now if this could be started across the nation.

At least so far the PDS coyotes have not crawled from under their rock, then again how could you knock Perry for this?


16 posted on 09/10/2011 11:00:09 AM PDT by dusttoyou ("Progressives" and ronpaulnutz are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: smoothsailing
To keep a school from lowering its standards to increase its graduation rates, he suggested giving an exit exam to all students receiving a B.A. Students wouldn’t have to pass the exam to get their degree, but the information yielded by such a test​—​how much learning is going on around here?​—​would be useful, mostly to reformers. The proposal was seen, correctly, as a threat to the status quo, which has so far successfully fought it off.

No kidding, because it was a STATE exam. Here is what they should do, and if you want to hear the educrats howl, this would really do it. It's also why Perry won't do it.

To: TigerLikesRooster

The principal reason Americans support public education is to prepare children to find employment as adults. All that stuff about literacy, roundedness, or good citizenship pales compared to the overwhelming need to acquire the credentials with which to find a job. Parents deprive themselves for decades, only to send their child to a college or university, with nearly half the coursework being unnecessary or even counterproductive and a substantial fraction more soon forgotten. Why?

Credentials. This entire system is built around the power to control who gains credentials. And who controls that game but a claque of hardened socialists committed to destroying the foundations of Western Civilization! With all that cost, all that work, and all that time spent for a rotten product, do they provide a guarantee?

No.

There is a very simple solution to this problem, one that could bring the entire edifice crashing to its knees: A competitive system of private credentials.

Envision a small shop in a strip mall: "We Test." We Test tests, and how. We Test tests are no joke, indeed; they're hard. REALLY hard. We Test guarantees that any person who can pass their tests can perform as specified with an insured guarantee. If the person you hire fails to perform to those specifications within the term of the guarantee, We Test pays the cost of hiring and training a replacement.

Any human then could use any means imaginable to acquire the necessary knowledge to pass We Test tests. Any school would do, no accreditation required. The Internet is loaded with coursework and curricula, libraries and lab-simulators. Any human with the drive and intelligence to learn on their own could then qualify for a job. No saving for decades, no brainwashing, completely transferable work, at any pace one can withstand. Any employer could then simply select from a menu of We Test specifications instead of a diploma, at any level. We Test tests.

One would think that this should have happened a long time ago, but in fact there is one thing standing in the way that makes the realization of this seeming inevitability a matter of now or never.

State licensing requires degreed credentials obtainable only at said profligate, bureaucratic and unaccountable institutions charging outrageous fees and demanding excessive time as only a State monopoly could command. Why not just amend the legislation specifying education for state licensure by adding the simple words, "or equivalent"?

As an example of how little it would take, consider my wife. She just passed her board certification exam as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. She walked into H&R Block, sat at a computer, took a three-hour exam harder than anything she'd endured in her Masters' Program at Cal State San Francisco, and within five minutes after completion had her passing grade. If the private system can handle a test that specialized, why can't it test arithmetic, algebra, US history, or college chemistry? Instead of bricks and mortar, it would be e-books in quarters. Why not?

12 posted on Sunday, May 29, 2011 7:30:37 AM by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by central planning.)

I repeat: State licensing requires degreed credentials obtainable only at said profligate, bureaucratic and unaccountable institutions charging outrageous fees and demanding excessive time as only a State monopoly could command. Why not just amend the legislation specifying education for state licensure by adding the simple words, "or equivalent"?

The reason they don't do it is that even "reformers" like Perry are still STATISTS at heart, power freaks all, regardless of objectives, and therefore not to be trusted.

17 posted on 09/10/2011 11:03:24 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: casinva
Thanks Cas, for posting the links about th College Credit for Heroes program.

That was the thing that really got me interested in Governor Perry.

18 posted on 09/10/2011 11:08:41 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Carry_Okie; casinva
...even "reformers" like Perry are still STATISTS at heart, power freaks all, regardless of objectives, and therefore not to be trusted.

So even though Governor Perry is making some headway, but it's not good enough for you, we should just cast him aside and wait for some perfect savior who has yet to arrive?

19 posted on 09/10/2011 11:15:48 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

I really like what Rick Perry was trying to do here. To make the spoiled rotten university .edu establishment more accountable and more efficient with money. These effin profs thinks they are gods and don’t have to be held accountable for their course load and what they do to earn their salary paid for by the Texas taxpayer


20 posted on 09/10/2011 11:17:43 AM PDT by dennisw (nzt - works better if you're already smart)
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To: Zhang Fei

From the article: The average in-state cost of a four-year degree in Texas, including books, is roughly $30,000

Strikes me as pretty steep for in-state. Perry’s goal is to get it down to $10K. The author’s $30K has to include not only tuition and books, but also #20K in housing, food and fees to reach that cool $30K.

Here are some comparables of top state schools in 3 states from USN&WR for 2010-11 tuition only:

UC –Berkeley (#1 Public; #22 National) $10,868 in-state; $33,747 out-of-state.

UVA (#2 Public; #25 National) $10,628 in-state; $33,574 out-of-state.

UT-Austin (#13 Public; #45 National) $9,418 in-state; $31,218 out-of-state


21 posted on 09/10/2011 11:25:31 AM PDT by EDINVA ( Jimmy McMillan '12: because RENT'S TOO DAMN HIGH)
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To: EDINVA
Are you comparing 4-year costs to annual?

That's how it looks.

There is no way UVA is $10K for 4 years.

22 posted on 09/10/2011 11:34:24 AM PDT by Trailerpark Badass
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To: Trailerpark Badass

noooooooooooooooooooooooo hahahaha, don’t we WISH !!!

I thought I set out tuition and tuition only for the 2010-11 school year only; same for all the others.

So if your kid is going to, say, UVA, the tuition is $10K+ for that year, then some increase over the four years, probably ending up around $12.5K in his/her senior year for just the tuition. Throw in the rest and it’s a cool $30K/year.

So now we understand why the private comparables are now running $50K. Ugh. This just can’t be sustained.


23 posted on 09/10/2011 11:40:41 AM PDT by EDINVA ( Jimmy McMillan '12: because RENT'S TOO DAMN HIGH)
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To: smoothsailing

When I went to school, it was $750 a semester....


24 posted on 09/10/2011 11:43:01 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Trailerpark Badass

Usually in speaking of college costs, it’s done on an annual basis, given the increases from year to year for ALL costs. This writer did say a four year TX degree costs on average $30K, but that would be only for tuition and books. (Bought any college textbooks lately? Worse than tuition, etc!)

So if I’m looking to send a kid to UT-Austin, I start at @$10K just tuition/books, then throw in the housing/food/fees/extracurricular, blah blah blah. ‘Tain’t cheap even at public U’s any more.


25 posted on 09/10/2011 11:46:13 AM PDT by EDINVA ( Jimmy McMillan '12: because RENT'S TOO DAMN HIGH)
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To: smoothsailing
So even though Governor Perry is making some headway, but it's not good enough for you, we should just cast him aside and wait for some perfect savior who has yet to arrive?

Right fight, wrong solution, headed in the wrong direction. Imagine this tool in the hand of a leftist, STATE control of thought. If you think that is headway, you are on the wrong forum.

26 posted on 09/10/2011 11:59:56 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: smoothsailing
I like this. And I like his mea culpa on Gardasil. And I like the story I read here the other day about how he pulled the plug on the NAFTA highway.

Let's face it, The Lady ain't running, and Bobo is OUT in 2012, ya'll.

Perry, Romney, Christie, Rubio -- these 4 can win. 2 ain't running, and the other one is someone goofing on being a politician. That leaves Texas, and having spent a lot of time there over the past 20 years, I have always found a lot to like about Texas...

27 posted on 09/10/2011 12:00:57 PM PDT by StAnDeliver (/)
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To: EDINVA
I understand now.

I'm hoping the HOPE scholarship (GA) is still solvent when my daughter graduates HS in 2013.

28 posted on 09/10/2011 12:03:00 PM PDT by Trailerpark Badass
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To: Trailerpark Badass

That’s my hope for your daughter, too! Don’t, under any circumstances, let her take out huge college loans. If it comes to it, let her go to a community college, then get auto transfer to a state 4 year college to finish off.

There’s more than just financial advantage to community colleges. Like maturing, getting a better sense of what they’re in school for, what major they want to pursue, instead of changing the major six times, extending the four years to five or more.

It makes me physically sick when I hear young folks with $50-100K in debt for college loans for a degree that doesn’t lead to a job that can reasonably pay off the loans. There is NO getting out of paying off those loans. MAYBE death, but bankruptcy won’t excuse college loans. They absolutely, positively have to be paid back.

Best to you and your daughter.


29 posted on 09/10/2011 12:13:47 PM PDT by EDINVA ( Jimmy McMillan '12: because RENT'S TOO DAMN HIGH)
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To: smoothsailing; nathanbedford; Carry_Okie

This has the virtue of appealing to all political factions. For example, in many cases, a professor will make a few changes in a textbook, thus creating a “new edition.” Not only is the price of the new book inflated, but the professor can require that the students use the “new, improved” version.

That might make sense if the book reveals the latest discoveries in nanotechnology, but if the subject is philosophers from hundreds or thousands of years ago, it is not only a burden for the students, but also a potential conflict of interest for the professor-author.

Acta Philosophorum, $1740 on Amazon. At the college bookstore, I hate to think how much.

One of my instructors in college required an expensive hard bound edition of Moby Dick, but I bought a used paperback. The only problem was when they referred to a page number that was different from my version, but I did OK.

Electronic books may go a long way to lower costs, but only if “the system” allows it to happen.

But one of the dangers in “reforming the system” is that you will create a new bureaucracy. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Like the government “help” we got to “cure” the 2008 crash.


30 posted on 09/10/2011 12:14:24 PM PDT by ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas (Budget sins can be fixed. Amnesty is irreversible.)
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To: dusttoyou
Very good! Now if this could be started across the nation.

[Rick] Scott Promotes Controversial Education Reforms [Rick Perry has championed] “Gov. Rick Scott has begun discreetly promoting the same changes to the higher education system that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has championed. The proposals include some of the same reforms pushed by conservatives in K-12 schools: merit pay for professors, tenure reform, and generally a much greater emphasis on measurement of whether professors are turning out students that meet certain goals.

The attempt in Texas has caused something of an identity crisis in that states higher education community, with opponents saying what needs to be reformed is Perry's control over university policies.<<<

31 posted on 09/10/2011 12:14:33 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: smoothsailing
Good piece. I'm glad Gov. Perry's work is finally getting noticed.

The Left is getting interested about whether Gov. Perry might shake up public education if elected president and save their bacon from the mess they've created.

Will Rick Perry Unravel the Strange Consensus on Public Education?

32 posted on 09/10/2011 12:18:15 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: smoothsailing
What I find truly disturbing is that you couldn't see State testing as the usurpation of power from the people it really is.

Think of what would be necessary to hand control of American education to the UN. The key would the establishment of control points and then handing said control up the chain. That is EXACTLY what Perry is doing here. This move of Perry's hardly qualifies as "smaller government," as administration of these tests is taken from the hands of local authorities, however much you may dislike them individually. Instead of establishing competing customer driven standards, he is setting up a system that pleases only the autocrat.

Perry is pulling exactly the same ruse that Bush did: qualifying as a conservative by TALKING God and country, while at the same time inculcating the power of the State, which is easily handed over to those you would not find at all so pleasing. This was the same mistake as falling for the PATRIOT Act, which in the hands of a Janet Napoletano blathering about conservatives as a domestic threat of terrorism is rather concerning.

33 posted on 09/10/2011 12:21:34 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas
April 2010: Governor: Texas should move to online textbooks ...........<< Perry said using computer software to teach students allows the curriculum to be updated almost instantly and said children learn through technology, including math computer games.

"There's obviously opposition (to switching to totally computerized material), but there's always opposition to change," Perry said. He said the switch would have to be done cost effectively and that he didn't yet know whether such a move would save money. The governor said he wants to explore the proposal when the Legislature meets in 2011.>>>.......

34 posted on 09/10/2011 12:21:44 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Carry_Okie
What Are Texas’ Seven College Solutions? [snip] 1. Measure quality — The plan would calculate a cost-benefit analysis for professors. How much are they paid? How many classes do they teach? How many students? How do students rate those professor? The data would then be compiled into rankings, which students could review before choosing their instructors.

2. Recognize and reward teachers — This is merit pay for professors. The plan calls for the top 25 percent of professors to earn a bonus. Top bonuses would be $10,000 per class.

3. Separate budgets for teaching and research — This would allow colleges to better evaluate what kind of bang for its buck professors are providing. Splitting the pots of money would make it clearer how and why professors are paid.

4. Require evidence of skill for tenure — This would set easily-defined goals to earn tenure. For instance, a professor would have to earn a rating of 4.5 on a 5-point scale to be eligible for tenure. Likewise, a professor might have to teach at least three classes a semester, with at least 30 students in each class, for a set number of years before becoming eligible for tenure.

5. Results-based contracts with students — This amounts to a mortgage good faith estimate for students. Students would have to sign a document outlining the school’s class sizes, teacher evaluations, SAT scores of incoming students and other data that would allow them to make a better informed decision.

6. Funding in the hands of students — This proposal would take out the middle man in public funding. Some public money is given to schools as a tuition subsidy for student. The Texas Public Policy Foundation argues students will make the best decision if they get the money directly. Critics contend this creates a voucher system for colleges.

7. Create results-based accrediting alternatives — This proposal would gradually move schools away from traditional accrediting and create a national body similar to the Securities and Exchange Commission to evaluate college claims and actual results. Colleges that can not fulfill their recruiting pitch could be investigated for fraud. Establishing new accreditation would make it possible for more schools to enter the market. [snip]

Rick Perry Leads the Way on Higher-Ed Reform [snip] First, runaway college costs are an important “kitchen table” issue for American families. After the economic woes of the past decade, many families are wondering how they are going to afford to send their kids to college (the yearly cost of attending an in-state four-year public college now tops $16,000 per year).

Second, like our public schools, America’s colleges are woefully underperforming. The authors of the recently published book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses found that 45 percent of college students show no improvement in critical skills after two years in college. Troubling statistics are forcing many families to question whether investing time and money in college is really worth it, particularly since many college graduates are struggling to find employment and appear to have gained few marketable skills.

Third, colleges are creating a heavy burden for taxpayers. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, higher-ed spending accounts for approximately 10 percent of state spending. And federal subsidies for higher education (including grants, loans, tax credits, and direct payments to schools) amount to well over $100 billion annually.

Fourth, colleges have long been an intellectual driver of progressivism in American life. I am sure I am not the only person who found my undergraduate and graduate school years to have been a tiring indoctrination in leftist ideas. It is surely no coincidence that young American voters are more included to vote for the Left after this indoctrination.

For too long, the Right has neglected the need to challenge and reform American higher education. But in the current political climate, reforming colleges and universities (as well as our student-aid policies) is an eminently winnable fight — and one that would yield big gains for students and taxpayers.

Conservative leaders around the country should follow Rick Perry’s lead. [end]

LA Times story that underscores reasons for Perry’s 7 Solutions push:

Take back the liberal arts - Too often, liberal arts courses aren't attuned to undergraduates looking for a broader understanding of the world but toward professor's narrow interests. -

………”Amherst once had a college-wide course called "Evolution of the Earth and Man," team taught by faculty from geology through genetics. It was exactly the sort of thing that drew people into the sciences. However, that offering no longer exists. Such classes don't earn points for the professors who plan them. Instead, they are expected to be doing research that will lead to tenure or higher ranks, which often means they are concentrating on ever more obscure topics.

An American Mathematical Society study of introductory courses found that only 11% were taught by regular faculty. Professors making their mark in "orbit structure of diffeomorphims of manifolds" feel their talents would be wasted teaching Math 101. But they might mull Albert Einstein's words to young researchers: "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother."

There are still colleges where the contents of the bottles match the labels. But they tend to be more modest schools, ones that don't expect their faculties to make national reputations in research. Occidental College in Los Angeles is such a school, as is Hendrix College in Arkansas and the new Quest University Canada in British Columbia. And there are excellent dedicated liberal arts colleges within affordable public systems. New College of Florida and St. Mary's College of Maryland are two; also Arizona State University's Barrett honors college and Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York, which waives tuition for students who maintain a 3.5 grade-point average.

As high school students and their parents consider college options, they might want to take a careful look at catalogs and course descriptions. In higher education these days, it's buyer beware.” [end]

35 posted on 09/10/2011 12:25:48 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Carry_Okie
If you think that is headway, you are on the wrong forum.

Insult aside, I like it here and intend to hang around.

36 posted on 09/10/2011 12:27:19 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

I’ll trade you LomanBill for Carry_Okie.


37 posted on 09/10/2011 12:31:17 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Good piece. I'm glad Gov. Perry's work is finally getting noticed.

I'm glad also. There of course will be those who will find some reason to hate him for it.

38 posted on 09/10/2011 12:36:58 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I’ll trade you LomanBill for Carry_Okie

OK, but I want an option on two players to be named later! :)

39 posted on 09/10/2011 12:40:04 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
It's the right fight, but with the wrong "solution." I promise you: Perry's "fix" will backfire, exactly as planned.

Why do we even need bricks and mortar schools in the 21st Century? Why do we need to "reward teachers" when the best could earn money like rock stars? Don't you get it? All that "classroom teaching" stuff is over.

Hence, Perry's "solutions" might have been productive back in the 70s, but as of now they are more hazardous than beneficial.

40 posted on 09/10/2011 12:42:53 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: smoothsailing
Insult aside, was an insult returned, and if you don't know what it was, that is what is telling.
41 posted on 09/10/2011 12:44:55 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: EDINVA
From the article: The average in-state cost of a four-year degree in Texas, including books, is roughly $30,000.

You are only off by a mere 50%. I have been paying for college for four straight years at two different schools and it is between $15-$18,000.

42 posted on 09/10/2011 12:51:48 PM PDT by crusty old prospector
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To: Carry_Okie

I like Gov. Perry’s ideas and his grasp of so many government choke points.

EPA

Energy

Education

Lawsuits and Regulations

Balanced budgets

Lower Taxes

****************

I’ll take a pass on your Perry bashing.


43 posted on 09/10/2011 12:59:32 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: crusty old prospector

hey, *I* didn’t write the article !!!

Originally, I thought he was referring to an annual cost that seemed mighty steep for a state school. Then decided to look further and run comparables to other state university systems’ flagships. Not a HUGE difference among them.

Still, if Perry can push down the costs AND improve outcomes, and there are lots of ways in this day and age to do that, more power to him! Certainly he’s begun ‘the conversation’ that needs to be held.

I still can’t get over the cost of textbooks. OMG. One son is taking a physics class at a local community college, and I made reference to the textbook costing $100. He could barely stop laughing at me.


44 posted on 09/10/2011 1:13:25 PM PDT by EDINVA ( Jimmy McMillan '12: because RENT'S TOO DAMN HIGH)
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To: Carry_Okie
Insult aside, was an insult returned, and if you don't know what it was, that is what is telling.

You're far too sensitive, you don't mind trashing a man you don't even know, but when you're criticized for it, you think you're being insulted and get you get your nose all out of joint. Talk about telling!

I won't bother you anymore.

Enjoy life.

Carry on, Carry_Okie.

45 posted on 09/10/2011 1:18:45 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I agree that he has a good grasp of the problems.

Unfortunately, I am not enamored of his solutions.

I’ll take a pass on your Perry bashing.

"Bashing" now is it? Look, I've explained to you what is wrong about this proposal. I have shown you a superior alternative. In fact, I've been proposing serious alternatives on this forum for over a decade. You have yet to address the content. Instead, simply because you don't take the time to really think about it, you are bashing. Grow up.

A State testing system requires administration. That takes bureaucracy over which the governor would have little direct control when it comes to testing content. Said bureaucracy would then implement the real agenda. If you want to sit there with your soft focus rose colored glasses on while ogling over the pitch and don't want to think about details or consequences, that's your business, but don't get all uppity when somebody points out the obvious.

I don't care who the candidate is. Had Rick Perry proposed something workable toward the expression of liberty, much less truly innovative, I'd have said so. I don't think he will. What my post above shows is how easy it is to fix this mess and yet NO politician wants do it simply because it is removal of State power over student learning while assuring the customer of said product that it WILL meet expectations, something NO political proposal of which I am aware even purports to do. What is truly sad is that you just won't get it.

46 posted on 09/10/2011 1:25:30 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: Carry_Okie

And I don’t like your tone.


47 posted on 09/10/2011 1:27:21 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: smoothsailing; Cincinatus' Wife
Here is your insult:

So even though Governor Perry is making some headway, but it's not good enough for you, we should just cast him aside and wait for some perfect savior who has yet to arrive?

Instead of addressing the content, you have to attack me by painting me as unreasonable, shallow, and flippant. Nice job. Stupid, but typical. So, when you get a reply that is, frankly, more polite than yours, you attack it as an insult?

Deal with the content. The reality is that Perry's proposal here is that it proposes more centralized command and control of a system that needs said control devolved to customers. Centralized control is easily subordinated to the Federal Department of Education and thence the UN. What would you do then?

48 posted on 09/10/2011 1:32:39 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: Carry_Okie

And you’re arrogant to boot!


49 posted on 09/10/2011 1:33:18 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
And I don’t like your tone.

Never mind accountability.

50 posted on 09/10/2011 1:33:31 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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