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A Texas Battle Over Higher Education

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

A battle at the University of Texas over the future of higher education.  And whether job training will trump everything else.

In this Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 photo, a statue of George Washington stands near the University of Texas Tower at the center of campus, in Austin, Texas. (AP)

In this Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 photo, a statue of George Washington stands near the University of Texas Tower at the center of campus, in Austin, Texas. (AP)

They say “Everything is Bigger in Texas.”  But when it comes to higher education, Governor Rick Perry’s critics say his vision is too small.  Perry’s pushing for a $10K college degree.  He wants schools to focus on job-training skills.  And he wants technology to help get us there.

Other states are paying attention.  With student loan debt topping $1 trillion, there’s a lot of appeal to a bargain bachelor’s that leads to a job.  Perry’s detractors say his vision undermines great research universities, and America will suffer in in the long haul.

This hour, On Point: a battle in Texas, and what it means for the future of higher education.


Reeve Hamilton, covers higher education and politics for the Texas Tribune. (@reevehamilton)

Ray Bowen, Chairman of the National Science Board, and President Emeritus of Texas A&M University.

Thomas Lindsay, director for the Center for Higher Education, Texas Public Policy Foundation, which has been closely aligned with Republican Governor Rick Perry.

From The Reading List

The New York Times: Questioning the Mission of College  – “Do we want our marquee state universities to behave more like job-training centers, judged by the number of students they speed toward degrees, the percentage of those students who quickly land good-paying jobs and the thrift with which all of this is accomplished? In the service of that, are we willing to jeopardize some of the trailblazing research these schools have routinely done and the standards they’ve maintained? Those questions are being asked and fostering acrimony on campus after campus, the one here in Austin chief among them.”

The Atlantic: Did Texas Just Discover the Cure for Sky-High Tuition? — “Texas is experimenting with an initiative to help students and families struggling with sky-high college costs: a bachelor’s degree for $10,000, including tuition fees and even textbooks. Under a plan he unveiled in 2011, Republican Gov. Rick Perry has called on institutions in his state to develop options for low-cost undergraduate degrees. The idea was greeted with skepticism at first, but lately, it seems to be gaining traction. If it yields success, it could prompt other states to explore similar, more-innovative ways to cut the cost of education.”

Associated Press: University Of Texas, Rick Perry Clash Over Future Of Public Higher Education — “If colleges were automobiles, the University of Texas at Austin would be a Cadillac: a famous brand, a powerful engine of research and teaching, handsome in appearance. Even the price is comparable: Like one of the luxury car’s models, in-state tuition for a four-year degree runs about $40,000.”

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  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    A $ 10,000.00 degree is certainly more reasonable than the price being paid by so many students today. However, it is still steep, considering that a degree promises nothing and reading books is free ! When I hear people complaining about the many tens of thousands of dollars they have spent on education and their inability to convince employers to hire them to help them run and manage their business, I pause and ask myself, ‘ would I hire someone that ran up a large amount of debt, with the hope that they would find a way to pay it back, without some definite plan’ ?
    That is to say; ‘would I want this type of person making decisions for my business’ ?

    Looking at the issue from a different perspective, it can easily be shown that investing that same ten thousand dollars * into an investment that yields a mere 5 % per year, compounded, from the age of 22 to age 65 ( 43 yrs.), will result in a pre tax sum ** of
    $ 81,496.00, for doing absolutely nothing, but waiting !

    Again, looking at things a different way. If you consider the projections, given by technologist. of such phenomena as Moore’s Law, which tells us that every ten years computing “power” will increase by a factor of 1000 and that these increases are multiplicative, you can project that computers and their corollaries will be; 1000 * 1000 * 1000 * 1000 = 1,000,000,000,000 *** times more powerful per dollar. So ask yourself, during these 43 years, do you think that a computer or device will be able to outperform you ?

    Flip the imagery around a bit and ask this, If a potential employer could take the equivalent amount of processing power, that is; 10 Laptops at a cost of $1000.00 each and each were One Trillion times as powerful as today’s laptop; ‘ could “ I ” be replaced ?

    In today’s terms, ask, ‘ Could Ten times One Trillion laptops do my job ‘ ? Might “ I “ be replaced by less than this number ? If so, your projected earnings will not be as promised .

    * Remember, they are claiming this to be a very low amount !
    ** Note : 10,000 * (1.05) ^ 43 = 81,496
    *** One Trillion times more …

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Cars are too expensive.
      Houses are too expensive.
      Some taxes are too high ( my real estate tax is ridicules, I pay almost as much in real estate tax now as I did 15 years ago for a mortgage. !
      Dividend rates are too low.
      Wages are too low.
      Health insurance cost are too high.
      Returns on 401k’s are non existent.
      Pension plans are missing.
      All of the above are the result of a so called educated class of people that have been making the decisions. Something is wrong with this picture. The “ Scream” comes to mind.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior


        Doesn’t this sound like trickle up economics?.. or was it trickle down?

        The only thing that trickles or rather flows down these days is sacrifice.

      • JobExperience

         Nope. It’s relative. Incomes are way too low for the 99%. Education (brainwashing) won’t fix it.

        • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

          But lack of education will hurt it.

    • TELew

       Borrowing money with no guarantee of success in hopes of some day making a profit from it is known as business.  It is not just limited to education.

  • Mat_Priester

    As I college student I greatly welcome this change. Although I do agree that there are a certain number of liberal arts and social sciences classes every student should take, it seems to me that too many non-STEM college courses focus on pseudo-academic work. Five to fifteen page research papers that aren’t really useful and don’t really teach us any new skills. Yet this is the bread and butter of our assignments.

    Schools should cut the fat out of programs and start teaching kids more practical knowledge. Many of us don’t want to work in the sciences yet we are stuck with the option of getting watered down liberal arts and social sciences degrees or no degrees at all.

    • Shag_Wevera

      “Give it away, give it away, give it away now.” -Red Hot Chili Peppers.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Who needs Science, Philosophy, and Art?
      Human Beings, that’s who.

      You’re right about one thing though, we should “cut the fat out”. Overpaid administrators, artificially inflated material and supply costs, and historically inaccurate texts would be a good place to start. Your take seems to be that we need less actual education and more worker funded job training, mine is that employers should bare all expenses and responsibilities relevant to job training.

  • Yar

    “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”Luke 16:24 
    We don’t have to wait until death to comprehend the truth that we trade work over time.  Money is a false accounting of that trade.  Texas is using severance taxes to pay for education.  They may not call it that, but the source of the money is from extraction of fossil fuels.  It doesn’t take a economist to see that we are not investing in our youth like we should.  We need a national education plan, I would do it with two years of public service for all youth 18 to 24.  We need their labor to work when we can’t. Are we going to be the rich man in the lake of fire, dying in soiled sheets with no one to clean our bed-sores? 

  • Shag_Wevera

    I had a classical university education.  Majored in history, minored in philosophy, and took courses in art, biology, music, chemistry, and psychology.  Almost none of these courses have directly helped me in the various jobs I’ve held.  I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING!  My useless classical college degree is one of my most prized possessions.

    I know the reality.  Fewer and fewer kids will enjoy the “luxury” I had.  Today’s version of me will go to some corrugated steel building claiming to be a college and be taught something mind-numbingly utilitarian.

    It is another step in our transition from thinking men and women in the Athenian tradition to workers in the orwellian tradition.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    If you compare the number of administrators per student running universities today versus thirty years ago, have the ratios changed? Similarly have salary ratios changed as well?

    I have gotten the impression that schools are top heavy and administrators sacrifice educators salaries over administrator salaries: tenured professorships are being replaced with part-time adjunct positions filled by PHDs who are paid wage rates on the order of delivery truck drivers. And then there’s the lucrative college sports business…

    Contrast that with the outrageous salaries of some University system presidents… these are non-profit institutions, not global oil companies!

    Is part of the problem that these university systems are out of balance in these regards?

    • jefe68

      Actually delivery truck drivers, at least the ones working for UPS and FedEx, to a lesser extent, make more than most adjuncts. 

    • TomK_in_Boston

      It’s simple. America is adopting the corporate model, and American universities are adopting the corporate model. The bureaucracy grows. The focus is on profitability, and it’s funneled to the executives. The idealistic idea of providing a broad education is replaced by one of providing good corporate workers.

      High quality state universities like UC and UTx used to put a brake on this with their public funding and low tuition, but after years of tax cuts many “State U” have their state funding in the 10-20% range and are well on their way to being corporatized, too.

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        I wonder if the shift you describe so well also signifies an shift in investment (if you could call it that) from the young to the old?  

        As the country worries about deficits and the wave of baby boom retirements there’s less money for education, less money for research, infrastructure etc etc.This is to say nothing of a country that’s got it’s priorities wrong when it comes to an out-sized and bloated military.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          The “wave of boomer retirements” is language the right and the DC echo chamber love and they go on as if it’s a shocking new development. However, demographics is one thing that can be predicted very very far in advance, and in the 1980s we adjusted Social Security for the “wave of boomer retirements”. The minor problem is that we didn’t realize that so much income would move to the top and be over the cap, so obviously we should just raise the cap and no problem.

          The reason there’s no $ for what you mention is tax cuts and historically low tax payments by the romney types and the corporations.

          State tax cuts directly attack the young by reducing funding of State U and causing tuition to rise, feeding in to the cancer of student loan debt. If we really cared about the young we’d collect taxes to fund State U like we used to, put the private loansharks in jail and have the Gvt provide extremely low-interest loans.

          Let’s focus on the real problems and not gin up another excuse to attack the retirement programs, aka “entitlement reform”.

    • BostonDad

      Let the foxes be in charge of the hen house and that’s what we get !

  • MarkVII88

    I received a degree in biology at a quality, small liberal arts institution in 2002 with a minor in public policy.  I was able to roll this degree right into a two year research job at a medical school and research university, followed by attaining a Masters Degree in Cell & Molecular Biology of my own.  The job that I have now isn’t strictly a science or research-based job, but it’s in healthcare at a hospital clinical laboratory.  The education I received at the small, rather expensive liberal arts college was top-notch and, more than anything else, it taught me how to think critically and ask probing questions about the world around me.  I understand that money talks and a more vocational degree for $10K is going to be very attractive to a lot of students who would otherwise not be able to afford higher education.  But what we need in this country are more deep thinkers, people who have trained to read between the lines and make judgements and assertions, then follow-them up with appropriate research.  I fear that if we “settle” for more of a vocational higher education system, that we’ll see fewer and fewer people who can think outside the box and more individuals who are constrained by the limits of their training.

    • Human898

      We definitely need more critical thinking or thinking I would refer to as “cause and effect” and not necessarily about super complex problems. When I see people walking three abreast down a busy road with narrow shoulders, I wouldn’t say they are doing basic critical thinking, like whether or not they have a right of way or are walking and facing traffic so they can see what is coming at them, they are not likely to come out on top of a situation where they come in contact with a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds because someone was not paying attentoion or had to swerve.

      • MarkVII88

        In the 3-abreast example you give, I would argue that these individuals are either truly oblivious (lack of understanding of cause and effect) or just being jerks on purpose.  But really, you make a good point in that the benefits of an education are more than the sum of the lessons you’ve taken and the nuts and bolts of learning about a topic.  An educated person has the ability to look at a situation, evaluate it, and learn from it whether it fits into the “box” of the topic they’ve studied or not.  Flexibility is key.  Looking beyond what’s in front of your face is key.

    • ToyYoda

      You are assuming that vocational education cannot teach critical thinking, yet somehow, a more liberal arts education can.  I don’t think this is true.  In my own experience, teaching critical thinking depends on the teacher, independent of the kind of institution.

      • MarkVII88

         I think it’s more a function of time and focus.  How much more than the mere nuts and bolts of a subject will vocational training delve into?  How flexible will the curricula of vocational degree programs be?  I think you’ll get what you pay for and the hardest part of justifying the higher price of a liberal arts education is trying to quantify the value of the hidden lessons and thought-based nature of such a program.

        • ToyYoda

          So, I just hope you heard the statistic that they gathered.  Basic academic skills are not fundamentally advanced by going to a 4 year college.

          I agree that time and focus is more important.  But, I disagree that a liberal arts school is where you will get that, or that it is the ONLY place where that can be found.

          • MarkVII88

            I certainly don’t have any issues with vocational training.  I think learning a trade is valuable.  Certainly better than just trying to get-by with a GED or high school diploma.  Basic academic skills though don’t have to include critical thinking.  What I’m questioning is the flexibility of a vocational degree program to include aspects of critical thinking.  I think a lot of this type of skill comes down to the student.  If you’re a critical thinker, you’re going to think critically.  It’s a matter of how much honing of this skill you’ll get in one type of college program or another.  They’re geared to separate outcomes.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       I hope that works out the same for my daughter, she is going to attend a small L.A. college starting this fall. They definitely push the versatility of “learn to think outside the box” and “learn how to learn” aspect of a L.A. degree vs targeted education with “rounding out” electives.

      Thank goodness for merit scholarships.

  • William

    A 10k degree is a great idea and long overdue. The education industry in this country has been stealing from Americans for decades.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      What’s that saying: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Perhaps your argument is broad vs narrow.  Broad (being expensive) and narrow (less so). Or, perhaps the government could subsidize higher education – or industry could be more responsible to post-ed training.  

    • JobExperience

       A 10K degree is like a toll road on a moped.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      A 10K degree, or its inflation-adjusted equivalent, used to be normal. Univ of CA, with more Nobel prize faculty than just about anyone, used to be essentially free to CA residents. That’s a big part of the CA technology boom.

      As with so many of our problems, we don’t need a new system, we need tot take back our old system.

  • Ryan Copper

    Jane Clayson – such heavy topics whenever you fill in for Tom. Mix it up a little.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      I seriously doubt she is the one who chooses the topics.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      She doesn’t pick the topics. Besides, she wouldn’t be a good fit for light topics.

    • Ryan Copper

      PS: Nevertheless, higher ed. needs to be more affordable.
      Perhaps it should be free, and maybe even considered on-the-job paid training, especially in job training circumstances.

  • Jim

    10k degree… ok.. let’s try 100k in the northeast. where can you get a 10k degree unless you get grants and/or scholarship.

  • adks12020

    I think a 10K education is a great idea but it should be in the form of a job training/apprenticeship program in the style of Germany rather than a bachelor degree. There are a huge number of people in this country that don’t want or need a university education; they want the skills to succeed in the work place that can be learned in non-university settings. That is the way we should go.

    I agree college tuition is far too expensive but cutting a degree to 10K (roughly one semester at many public schools right now is you include room/board, food, and other bills) will simply water down the degree and leave students unprepared for the workplace. That doesn’t help anyone.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       Perry’s description of having schools teach job skills sounds just like your suggestion. I don’t know that HE thinks of it that way though.

      • adks12020

        Admittedly I haven’t really checked into Perry’s ideas that much. I’m just basing things on what I’m hearing here. That being said, a bachelors degree and an apprenticeship program are, and should be, two completely different things.

        There should be academic centers and vocational centers. Both are important.

  • adks12020

    Textbooks included…haha! Really? If someone is enrolled in any science, math, or business degree they will likely spend between $3,000 and $4,000 just on books for a four year degree.  Looks like we would need to force the textbook manufacturers to reduce their prices too.

    • JobExperience

       and include Creationism. You can’t get a Koch job without it.

  • ToyYoda

    For $2,000 – $10,000, I think that’s great!  I would love to go back to school and pick up another degree for that kind of money. Changing careers would be more attractive knowing that I don’t have to save a lifetime, just to switch to a career that I will enjoy more, and would be a better fit for me.

  • Human898

    Great if it can be done and have people come out with a level of quality that is on par to some basic level, like an associates degree.   The problem with for-profit education is that loans are not capped so there is no motivation to keep pricing reasonable or low.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Rick Perry and Rick Scott want to reform higher education…


  • wfjjr

    is it 10K per year or 10K for 4 year total 

  • J__o__h__n

    We need to use all public money in higher education for public institutions instead of grants for students to go to private schools.  Everyone should have access to a high quality education but we shouldn’t pay for Harvard.  Schools need to hold down costs so students can afford to go without going into debt instead of the current out of control price increases which they think offering a small amount of financial aid for the poorest of students mitigates it. 

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    If someone wants to go to a “great research university”, fine. The problem I see are schools, like UVM, that are “great research university” wannabes and value research over teaching.

    If I’m going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to send my kid to college, I would prefer that TEACHING is what the professors are supposed to be doing. There is something really wrong when “teaching doesn’t count” to get tenure at a university.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Are the college admins willing to work for a reasonable “national average” wage of ~$55K to keep college costs down?

    I didn’t think so.

    • cattfrancisco

      I agree with you.  The institution I was recently laid off from kept all the 110K + positions, and laid off those making less than $40,000.  

      • BostonDad

         They learned that trick from the private sector:  bonuses all round !

  • Human898

    The important thing is that in lowering the cost of education we don’t lower the level of education. Cheap does not necessarily mean better. Texas likes to claim many things, but it does spend a lot of time claiming a low average rate of wages and pay or how that helps those that make huge incomes make those huge incomes.

  • Scott B

    If I’m an employer, and I’m looking at the resume of a potential hire, and I see a $10K degree, I’d be wondering what kind of education that person got, where, and how;  and if the diplomas have coupons for fast food restaurant and payday loans? 

    STEM jobs often require hands-on and working as a group. How does a business hire someone for a job that requires interaction with people and working as a group with someone that most likely got their education mostly without either?

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       I don’t recall a “price paid” area on my diploma. Of course it is over 30 years old, times may have changed.

      • Scott B

        Certain diplomas are going to set off flags for employers. Seeing a degree from “Abracadabra College” might as well have “$10K Degree” printed on it, the same way seeing an Ivy League diploma says “$200K minimum”.

  • sara de

    The majority of US university classes are now being taught by poverty wage slave graduate students.
    Lets look at Canada-where McGill charges American students approx. $13,000 a year-but they do not have all the sports teams, internet cafes and huge college president salaries.

  • roflzok

    So government gets involved and guarantees exorbitant student loan costs only to turn around and get involved in efforts to reduce costs.  Here’s an idea, government: get out of higher ed.

    • asuka langley sohryu

       One of the best ways the government could “get out” of higher ed. is by reversing their bizarre and arbitrary bankruptcy laws.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liam.mcdonnell.5 Liam McDonnell

    Type your comm

    I know people who have PHDs some caes microbiology, people
    with masters in IT, people with bachelor’s in math, and they cannot find a
    job.  We don’t need a more education we
    need to more jobs.  In fact what we
    really need is to restructure society and stop paying some people $12,000,000
    per year.  Stop wasting money making war.
    We have the military industrial complex running this country; we have the
    medical industrial complex running this country.   We need to really restructure society.

  • surlymonkeynutes

    I am a graduate of Texas A&M University in 1988.  When I started college total tuition cost about $170 for 12 semester hours. When I graduated it was $700.  This was partially due to Texas college realizing that tuition for out-of-state students was less expensive then in-state tuition in their own states.  But partially, this was due to cut backs in state funding.  Recent tuition increases in Texas are proportional to the amount of reduced funding by the state.

  • RolloMartins

    Unless the US is going to be (all right…we’re already there) a nation of “I got mine” elite versus the rest of us is a public university system with no tuition requirements or low rates, similar to Argentina, France, Germany, Australia. Heck even Egypt has this. Don’t tell me that the richest country on earth cannot “afford it.” If others can, we can; it’s just that we don’t choose to.

  • 1wenger11

    A low-budget, or even free, college diploma does not create a job for the graduate. It simply allows the graduate to compete for certain, presumably better-paying jobs. The more graduates competing for better jobs, the lower the pay for those jobs. That is precisely the goal of those Governor Perry represents. Growing the trained workforce without creating jobs enriches investors, not students.

    • Paducah72

      Good point.

  • roflzok

    Why should degrees with an inherent difference in value to our society and country cost the same?  Why not dynamically price them?  

    • asuka langley sohryu

       Or alternatively index fees to expected lifetime earnings of the average graduate of the degree.
      There are many ways of thinking about these things.

  • Human898

    What seems odd is some notion that the “private sector” has kept prices and costs low.   If graduates cannot find work, is that necessarily the educational system or the economy they enter into?  When jobs are exported because Americans are too expensive to hire, where do they find jobs? Is this proposal meant to train and educate people for jobs that will pay them more or pay them less, so those that profit from lower wages can increase their profit margins?

    People want to be educated to get a better paying job, Everyone wants to be paid more, make more, then they wonder what the hell happened when everything costs too much.

  • adks12020

    Only 2% require common core?! The entire SUNY system (in New York) requires 2 years of general education requirements (aka common core).  Are other states really that different? I’m genuinely curious.

  • RolloMartins

    As Twain once said, College is just a second chance to learn how to read. Unfortunately, they are failing at even that.

  • gregghr

    I think that our universities need to take on a partnership role with the student, wherein the success of the student in post graduate work-life is how the university is paid.  The better the teaching and the better the “actual” earning power of the student the more the university could earn.  I also believe universities need to focus less on sports and more on academics if we are to remain truly competitive into the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bpomfret Bonnie Pomfret

    The problem is, that everyone is being urged to go to college.
    Fully half of my college students have serious academic gaps.We need vocational training and apprenticeships in 1-, 2-, and 3 year courses; and to guide most who are below the top ranks academically into these types of courses.  Look to the Germans, whose system is a bit rigid but works together with industry to train people for the jobs that need to be filled. 

  • ToyYoda

    Just as perspective…. McGill university is in Canada and is one of the oldest and most respective universities in North America.  For Canadian students tuition is $3800.00/year.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Kelly/692448753 Jim Kelly

       No fair! Everything works better in Canada.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liam.mcdonnell.5 Liam McDonnell


    Our for profit driven educational system prediction what degree
    will guarantee a as predicting a recession/depression is coming.  Case in point 2008.   The most amazing thing is we created the

  • http://www.facebook.com/liam.mcdonnell.5 Liam McDonnell


    Our for profit driven educational system prediction what degree
    will guarantee a as predicting a recession/depression is coming.  Case in point 2008.   The most amazing thing is we created the

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    I should note that since R&B tends to run around $10K a year regardless of the school, I’m not sure how a $10K degree is possible, shy every kid living at home with their parents.

  • WalterSimpson

    College and university costs are higher than they need to be because many campuses are run inefficiently, with overbuilt wastefully operated facilities, and because administrators and professors are overpaid.  Take the public State University of NY.  On the Buffalo campus the president is being paid $600,000, many other administrators are being paid $100,000 – 200,000 to do “who knows what,” and many full professors make between $120,000 and $150,000 while teaching two courses a semester.  While they make out, the next generation will see shrunken schools, poorer opportunities for students, and less faculty positions for deserving young academics. 

    • Shag_Wevera

      What should a college professor make?  Aaron Rodgers just signed a contract extension that will pay him 22 million dollars per year. Is it okay for a college president to make 1/40th of what a quarterback makes?

      • WalterSimpson

        Dear President or Professor Wevera (apologies, I am guessing you might be one or the other), Your comparison with Aaron Rodgers is obviously not a fair one.  College presidents and professors are not football players and college students and their parents aren’t paying Aaron Rodgers’ salary.  But in my view neither university personnel or professional football players should be making so much.  In most parts of the country, it is possible to live very comfortably on $100,000 a year or less.  Living like everyone else should be an objective of both college administrators and professors as they dedicate themselves to the creation of knowledge and the well being of students. Many years ago I was a philosophy graduate student teaching courses and making $3,000 a year.  When I suggested to the faculty in my department that they should share the wealth with us poor grad students, they laughed at me — including the Marxist professor who was doing quite well, thank you, under capitalism.  I am all for a decent, comfortable wage.  But the salaries of most college presidents as well as many faculty fall well outside that definition — penalizing students, their parents, and taxpayers.  Also, I reject the attitude entitlement so prevalent on campus among many administrators and faculty who think they are better than everyone else.  As for professional sports, I don’t follow them.  They are more about money and greed than sports. I wouldn’t buy a ticket to support their ridiculous salaries.

        • Shag_Wevera

          I respect and appreciate your thoughtful response!

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.sherwin.948 David Sherwin

    Why is the National education discussion solely focused on colleges and universities? Smart and innovative people do not always thrive within the current K-12 and post-secondary systems.  Let us expand the discussion to include skilled trades, focused technologies, and perhaps national service (where skills can be learned).

  • http://www.facebook.com/russell.ludwick Russell Ludwick

    We need to realize that most people probably shouldn’t be racking up 6 figure college(or outragous 5 figure) debt for their degree.  Too much weight is being put on people to have to have this degree.  We need to have other skill based education as an alternative to a 4 year degree.  How about technical training for careers as electricians, construction, plumbers, machinists, programmers, mechanics, web developers etc.  Why don’t we take a lesson from the germans, they have applied this successfully for decades. 

  • AC

    who controls the curriculum?

    • Roy-in-Boise

      The Fundamentalist bunch … Young Earth Theory and all.

      • d clark

        And this is what this is about for Perry and his minions in the ‘Texas Public Policy Foundation ‘(Thomas Lindasy et al). Make the price go down so we can dumb-down the “liberal rat-holes” and gut them. This Perry ruse is a TROJAN HORSE!

  • AC

    how would this alter & change insurance policies and professional licensing? i’m wondering if they understand that ‘technology’ has a lot of built-in liability issues.
    but hey, when i think ‘technology’, i sure do think of TX (pffft!)
    although, they have more corp headquarters in Ft Worth than I’ve ever seen anywhere else…..

  • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

    The issue of ‘academic ratcheting’  became evident to me a few years ago while perusing job listings of a CUNY community college. The school was looking for an assistant professor of chemistry with a Ph.D. and a proven publication record.

    Considering community colleges typically teach introductory courses to student who often need more help one would think a proven track record in teaching would be the emphasis. Ironically, both my excellent but rigorous calculus I and II instructors four year school had masters degrees.

  • asuka langley sohryu

    Dear On Point Producers,
    Have you considered a show on the significance of the S.T.E.M. PhD “glut”?
    Is it a temporary result of a down economy? Or is it real? What can we learn from it?

  • paul S

    What should be expected of an economy built on a culture
    that makes students believe they are the lucky ones, who should be thankful to
    have a school that is willing to take their money?
    Is it possible to have a healthy quid pro quo
    when students pine to become the ivory tower sycophant with a loan the average
    18 year old sees as “free money”; available to invest in his or her “college

  • TomK_in_Boston

    The problem is righty economics. The UC master plan was for nearly free, high quality higher education, and it worked like nothing in the history of education. There was no tuition, only very low fees, until – who else – Gov R Reagan introduced tuition to keep taxes down. It’s all summed up in the graph below.


  • josai

    Can’t the same logic be applied to running shoes? The consensus is that they are not worth what we pay, and yet we don’t have a government initiative to lower the cost of Nikes. This whole thing seems very un-Perry to me. What am I missing here? Is Perry willing to give up free market ideals for greater access to education? Is he suggesting that the government should set a ceiling price for the cost of education? Did I wake up on the wrong planet today? Hmm. maybe he’s just buds with some e-learning magnates.

  • David Corona

    I did 4 years in the military as a system administrator. I have a bachelors degree from a state university that while may not be an engineering degree still required a lot of effort and hard work compared to Oh let’s say an associates from a community college or a for profit school. I also have research experience. I know how to program. I make $12 an hour. I make enough to pay rent, electricity, gas, and minimal groceries. If my car breaks down, I will more than likely go homeless. Universe = 1, Me = 0. Gotta say it’s kinda defeating to know that people that dropped out of high school and went to career point are making double what I am.

    • ExcellentNews

      I am sorry to hear about your predicament, David. The equation is not “Universe=1, Me=0″ but “Oligarchy=1, Me=0″. Somewhere, a CEO and his private banker cronies are enjoying the sun on their yacht, having exported the FOUNDATIONAL high wage jobs abroad, and pocketed the profits tax-free. We cannot be a wealthy nation of waiters, massage therapists, and other “service” workers without a strong manufacturing and industrial base. We cannot be a wealthy nation at all if we play the game with slave-labor nations on terms set by the “free market”. 

  • TomK_in_Boston

    In the 60s and early 70s the University of California, one of the world’s greatest institutions, was essentially free. That was the master plan. It was believed, correctly, that superbly educated population would attract business. No student would have the slightest difficulty paying the small fees (no tuition!) with a summer job.

    Reagan fired the head of the Regents and instituted tuition, and it’s been all downhill from there.

    “UC’s share of the state budget has declined dramatically over the last decades. In 1980-81, UC received 5.09 percent of the state’s general funds.  In 2011-12, UC’s share dropped to 2.76 percent.

    As state support has declined, the student share of their education costs has grown. Since 1990, the state’s contribution to educating each UC student has dropped more than 50 percent.

    In 1990, the state funded 78 percent of the total cost of education per student. Today, the state funds 39 percent. As state support has declined, the students’ share of their education costs, net of financial aid, has more than tripled, from 13 percent to 49 percent.”

    I would add that in the 60s and early 70s the state funded about 100% of the cost.

    So spare me the fancy theories. Higher Ed is expensive because of Reaganomics and the dam tax cutters. When kids in CA take out their student loans, they should know they’re doing it so the romney types don’t have to support UC.

    • Duras

      Reagan was the first step.  Romney promised to reinstate banks as middlemen between students and federal loans, costing students several thousand more dollars in interest.  Obama got rid of the middleman saving millions of people thousands of dollars.  While Romney wanted to give a hundreds of bankers the gift of millions of dollars off the backs of thousands of hard working people. 

      What killed me is that Romney tried to tell people that he didn’t want the government taking advantage of students.  Go figure.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Yeah…and Ryan claims he is “saving medicare for the kids” by offering them vouchers, and some people swallow it. Go figure. The theme is “I’m screwing you but it’s really good for you”.

        Reagan, sheesh…..so many bad things stated with him. No terrorist is in his league.

        As with so many things, we do not need “fresh ideas” about education, we need to reclaim the system we had before Reagan et al destroyed it. This thread has talked about “the 10K degree” like it was a new idea. Give me a break. When states were collecting enough taxes to fund State U, a “10K degree” would have been expensive.

  • ExcellentNews

    A creationist like Rick Perry driving higher education reform??? LOL, that is like putting a child molester in charge of sex ed…

    Anyway, that show convinced me to NOT HIRE any graduate from Texas. It is much better to hire a graduate from Europe or Asia, who is proficient in math, science, writing, history, geography…etc., thanks to a publicly funded education system that does not cost an arm and a leg, and does not leave millions of young people in a state of indentured indebtedness to a few private bankers. Throughout much of the world, it cost less than $10,000 to educate a quality graduate. Here, $10,000 would barely cover George W. Bush the Third college beer allowance…

    How do they do it? Simple! To begin with, there is no football in college (or other sports paraphernalia). College is about education. For sports, go elsewhere.

    Second, their systems work because education begins at age 7 (and not 18) and because it recognizes that not all students are created equal. Thus, it focuses teaching efforts on the teachable. Surprisingly, this elitist approach works better than ours, where we still teach basic reading and arithmetic to 14 year olds.  

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Right, but “to begin with”, they collect enough taxes.

      But hey, if you have a biotech company designing new drugs based on “creation science”, TX may be the place to recruit….Oh wait, you can’t design new drugs with “creation science”, cause it’s not science.

  • superf88

    Shudder to imagine the 3rd rate city in a 3rd world country where Texas will find “professors” willing to take a 2000% pay cut…

  • Duras

    If or when the student loan bubble bursts, republicans will blame public universities and champion the useless for-profit, online colleges.  Of course, the online colleges are exploiting the student loan system.

  • Duras

    Does anyone know if football coaches got payed more than professors before Reagan?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Kelly/692448753 Jim Kelly

    Is it just me, or did the two guests on this show seem like they were playing by completely different rules? The former Aggie president (a different person from the former UT president referred to on this page – guess On Point had to make a last-minute switch) came off as evenhanded, thoughtful, and considerate. By contrast the conservative think-tank type from Austin never let up from full adversarial debate mode, spouting thinly disguised anti-higher ed talking points with every breath. I turned off the radio in disgust after his rhetorical posturing on the completely irrelevant issue of grade inflation.

    May God save Texas (to paraphrase the last words of Stephen F. Austin) if she allows such right-wing sophistry to dominate the debate over the future of higher education in this state.

  • Regular_Listener

    I find myself wondering why Governor Perry is not out there calling for $40,000 houses and $5,000 cars along with his $10,000 degrees.  Probably because that would involve stepping on the toes of well-off conservatives.  By calling for dirt-cheap college educations, he only risks further alienating educators, most of whom are not Republicans.  

    Having said that though, I do think that universities need to do more in these times to provide more affordable opportunities for cash-strapped families.  But at this point at least I’m not sure I would want to get one of Gov. Perry’s $10,000 diplomas.  It would probably involve taking lots of online courses taught by underpaid adjunct professors, and this is not the best way to learn or to have an interesting educational experience.

  • LibertarianMathProf

    Many college students are college students in name only, because they are not learning college level content, but basic Math and writing skills they should have learned in high
    school or even middle school.  In other words, they’re taking remedial level courses in college. 

    If our K-12 “education” system lived up to its responsibilities by truly educating students rather than raising their ‘self-esteem”, high school graduates would have the necessary
    skills they need to succeed in the workplace, rather than have to attend college to  learn what they should have
    learned in high school or middle school.

    To put it another way:  The reason that so many employers
    require job candidates to have a college education is simple—it’s the only way they can be guaranteed of having employees who possess at least a high school education!

Aug 28, 2014
Photos surround the casket of Michael Brown before the start of his funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014.  (AP)

The message that will last out of Ferguson with New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

Aug 28, 2014
Some of the hundreds of earthquake damaged wine barrels cover and toppled a pair of forklifts at the Kieu Hoang Winery, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A powerful earthquake that struck the heart of California's wine country caught many people sound asleep, sending dressers, mirrors and pictures crashing down around them and toppling wine bottles in vineyards around the region. (AP)

Drought in California, earthquake in Napa. We look at broken bottles and the health of the American wine industry.

Aug 27, 2014
The cast of the new ABC comedy, "Black-ish." (Courtesy ABC)

This week the Emmys celebrate the best in television. We’ll look at what’s ahead for the Fall TV season.

Aug 27, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader meet. We’ll look at Russia and the high voltage chess game over Ukraine. Plus, we look at potential US military strikes in Syria and Iraq.

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