Thursday, August 25, 2011

From the New Republic. Seriously.

Here's the actual, honest-to-God headline:

Rick Perry Is a Higher-Education Visionary. Seriously.

I'm way too busy to give this the attention it doesn't deserve but I thought it was a data point worth noting.

Update: Dean Dad (who's generally much more impressed with Kevin Carey than I am) isn't very impressed by Carey's case.
The larger flaw in Carey’s analysis, though, is that it mistakes saying for doing. If Governor Perry really wanted to remake Texas’ higher education system into something more teaching-focused and less research-focused -- a debatable goal, but not an absurd one -- I’d expect to see him beef up the teaching-focusd institutions that already exist. If he shifted state funding from, say, Texas A&M to the state and community colleges, then yes, I could start to buy the argument that he actually means it. If he decided that other parts of the country have the whole “research” thing well in hand, and he wanted to focus Texas on teaching, I’d expect to see him divert money from UT-Austin and send it to the K-12 districts and the community colleges. One could argue the wisdom of that, but at least it would be a vision.

No. He’s endorsing an attack on universities for not being high schools, an attack on community colleges for being high schools, and an attack on K-12 for, well, being there. Yes, some isolated bits of rhetoric could make sense in another context, but that’s not what’s happening. I agree with Carey on the oft-noted paradox that academics who are otherwise liberal become dogmatically, idiotically conservative when discussing their own profession, but their skepticism about Perry is fairer than that. Some of Perry’s rhetoric may be interesting, but at the end of the day, his only vision for higher education is hostility.

1 comment:

  1. I am beginning to think that the left has a blind spot on teaching just like the right has a blind spot on the military. Government spending and civil servants are bad . . . unless they are soldiers. Similarly, radical free market experiments are concerning unless they affect education.