Monday, July 18, 2005

Bill Wresch responds to Tom Lammer's comments

Let's go a bit easy, folks. Where is the evidence that education is getting worse? Do we have any evidence that students are learning less now than five years ago, or that they will learn less in the next two years? None of us like having our budgets cut, but without data to support our position, we are just presenting our opinions -- opinions the legislature feels very comfortable ignoring. If someone wants to start defining educational "quality," maybe we can begin to create an argument that has some chance of succeeding.


Bill Wresch said...

My posting was a response to a discussion message on campus. Now I find my comment reprinted on this web site. As a courtesy, it might have been nice to notify me that this reprinting was going to occur.

Lake Winneblogo said...

Thanks for finding and reading the blog.

You are probably right that I should contact everyone whose words I post on this site.

My feeling is, however, that the discussions that come across the COLS list about the budgetary situation are worthy of wider distribution(if you can call the blog wider distribution -- I average somewhere around 20 hits per day).

Secondly, I want to create a forum that is outside the official channels of the university--so that faculty can talk to one another on a site where we are not necessarily limited by the no-politics rule of state employees.

So far, that has not really happened. I am, however, enjoying posting and keeping tabs on the latest budgetary issues.

If you want me to take down your comment, I will. Send me an e-mail at winneblogo at or post a comment here.

Bill Wresch said...

I appreciate the offer. I have to say, there are a number of things that put me off about the posting. First, it did not come from a COLS discussion. I was removed from the COLS list after I made a comment about the dean. My response was to a campus-wide posting. You guys in COLS get so many comments you may not be able to distinguish them. Those of us outside of COLS see far fewer (and I suspect want to see far fewer).

Second, my comment is taken out of context. I was responding to someone who wanted to cut enrollment by 3000 to restore "educational quality." Without the context, I wonder how people see my posting.

Third, I find it odd that my name is posted, but yours is not. Who is Lake Winneblogo?

Lake Winneblogo said...

You are, of course, right that this discussion has taken place on the university list. I don't think that it changes the argument that I made before about audience.

I also updated the headings on several of the postings to make it clearer as to where they came from and towards whom they were aimed. That should allay your fears about misattribution.

Finally, it is also true that I should be bolder and put my name on this blog. However, as an untenured faculty member at UWO, I don't see my position as all that secure. Especially in these bad budgetary times, being a loud advocate can cause trouble. I have heard the stories about various administrators and the crisis of the 1970s, with its layoffs.

The point of the blog was to make our discussions and our position better known to a wider audience. One of the key issues in all this is a real misunderstanding about the university system and what faculty members do.

The legislators seems to see us as a bunch of ideologues who do nothing but sit in a classroom a few hours a week and try to turn our students into communists. Somehow, the fact that we are all working to create knowledge in our respective discipline and help our students turn into critical thinkers and citizens is lost.

The blog may not help much in that quest, but it is a small step.