Archives

Uncategorized

Today’s Lunch Links are mostly devoted to news in the higher education world, with a finishing touch that will bring you back to believing in humanity , in case you have fallen off that cliff in recent months.

A story that caught my attention yesterday is Garance Frank-Ruta’s proposition in The Atlantic that the federal government offer financial incentives to student loan debt holders for moving to blighted cities such as Detroit.

I chewed on this idea for about 15 seconds until I realized that commenter andrelot said what I was thinking better than I could:

I’m against these types of social engineering measures that aim to steer people towards some choice that is politically appealing instead of solving the underlying problems.

The underlying problem, in this case, are runaway college education costs for many students (which happens for a variety of reasons, from dwindling state financing to public universities to the proliferation of for-profit, dubious quality colleges and the financially disastrous arms-race of facilities related to anything but education like sports, gyms etc).

That is the real issue that needs to be addressed.

Speaking of college costs, today in Buffalo President Obama kicks off a tour of colleges to push his new idea for a financial aid system that provides bigger grants and cheaper federal loans to students at colleges that offer “good value.”

In addition to looking at attributes such access and the average debt load of a school’s students, another factor in a college’s “value” will be its graduation rate and graduates’ earnings.

Such metrics could prompt some unintended consequences, such as placing a higher value on schools that produce students entering into business or engineering careers, and eschewing schools that primarily have a liberal arts focus.

By the way, do you think that the majority of college professors have sweet tenure-track gigs that pay well and offer health care benefits? Think again. Check out this infographic about the growing adjunct crisis in higher education. Did you know that the number of master’s and PhD holders who are on food stamps tripled in the past three years?

This story is going viral for sure, but if you haven’t seen it, you must take a few minutes to listen to this school clerk in Decatur, Georgia describe what she did when a gunman entered her school this week with the intent to repeat the horrific Sandy Hook massacre that took place last year.

The word ‘hero’ is not strong enough to describe this woman, I realized as I listened to her explain how she connected with the gunman by telling him all of the details of a very difficult life she has had—and how her life is now turning toward something more positive.

How this educator did this while facing down a gun is simply unimaginable, and I am so thankful she was there to undoubtedly save the lives of countless children and educators by convincing this young man that he could put down his gun.

Uncategorized

(This post has been updated to include a link to another story documenting local education cuts).
That muffled roar you’re beginning to hear is the sound of education leaders across the state confronting and reacting to the reality of the cuts in education that the new state budget imposes — you know, the new budget that Gov. McCrory and right-wing think tankers have been bragging about.

Yesterday, the High Point Enterprise reported on the comments of Randolph County Community College President Robert Shackleford, Jr.: Read More

Uncategorized

Much has been written about the impact of this year’s state budget on K-12, but for a third year in a row, the university system suffered the deepest cuts of the three branches of North Carolina’s education system.

The UNC-system saw its bottom line slashed by nearly $66 million for 2013-14 under the new state spending plan.

NC State University Chancellor Randy Woodson says previous budget cuts resulted in larger class sizes and fewer class-sections.  This round of cuts will be even more difficult to achieve:

“Faculty, their workload, is already very high. And in fact they are doing a lot of administrative work they used to not have to do , because we have lost so many administrative positions,” explained Chancellor Woodson. “We’re going to step back from this and really think about the next phases of reorganization to help us adjust the university to what we think is the new norm in terms of state commitment to funding.”

Woodson appeared last weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon to discuss the impact on higher education. To hear the full segment, visit the Radio Interview section of the NC Policy Watch website where you can listen online or download a podcast. For an excerpt from that interview, click below:
YouTube Preview Image

Uncategorized

You know North Carolina has jumped off the cliff into the abyss when even two conservative figures with close ties to the John Locke Foundation are deriding the latest budget and tax policy choices made by state leaders.

Here, for instance, is longtime Locke Foundation Board member Assad Meymandi in Saturday’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer:

“Some 60 years ago, the founding fathers of the new North Carolina – transforming an agrarian society into an educational, technical and industrial state – folks like the late Bill Friday, Archie Davis, Gov. Luther Hodges and others saw the future salvation of our beloved state by heavily investing in education.

Their efforts have produced, among other things, a very strong UNC system of 16 campuses, parallel with the creation of the incomparable network of community colleges. They also advocated a strong N.C. Symphony, N.C. Museum of Art and other cultural and artistic institutions to attract educated and culturally inclined people to the state. Investing in education has paid off. N.C. economy has thrived because of its excellent public universities. UNC-Chapel Hill alone brings in annually around $900 million in research money and grants. It is truly frightening to see what the legislature is doing to the budgets of UNC system, N.C. community college system and UNC-TV. Read More

Uncategorized

Last night, the DREAMers did it again. They took a hopeful message and their own personal stories to a new audience, asking members of the Winston-Salem City Council to support a resolution on in-state tuition for North Carolina high school graduates, regardless of immigration status. The DREAMers keep insisting that our public policies must reflect our deepest values of fairness and equal opportunity, showing that the power of people is stronger than inhumane laws and a broken immigration system. Read More