Monday, October 15, 2007

Get Ready for New Cuts!

The Chancellor announced that, because of the impasse in Madison, we are preparing for a new round of cuts here at UWO.

It looks as though we may get the "growth agenda" money in the second year of the biennium, but will face base cuts at least as big.

All the optimism of the Spring seems to have been just that, and state legislators have decided that higher tuition and fewer classes are the best way to help the Wisconsin knowledge economy grow.

The anti-UW sentiment in Madison is still dominant, driven by those hard-core college haters on the Republican side of the aisle. Unbelievable!


Bill Wresch said...

Sorry for a long comment, but here goes:

1. The current budget problem is much larger than the UW and shows this state has a huge problem, not just with education but with basic government functions. We have much to be concerned about, the university just being one piece.

2. Whatever budget is finally passed, more of the cost of education will be passed from the public to students as we continue to redefine education as a personal good rather than a public good.

3. By my count there have been 3 moments in American eductional history that really made a difference: Lincoln's Morrell Act (also called the Land Grant) that gave state universities the proceeds from land sales if they would finally teach science, the next decade's creation of Normal schools like Oshkosh so that women could get an education and improve the quality of grade schools, and the GI bill that sent veterans to college after WWII. What we are today is based on those three actions.

4. The best we can do today is to call for more "access." No offense to Wells, he is a man of his time, but "access" hardly matches the defining moments of the past. Without a more compelling vision of higher education than "some more is better," we will drift on as we have been for decades. And each decade we will be nibbled a little here, and a little there, and students will struggle a bit more here and there.

And most of us will teach our classes, write our papers, and endure.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bill, how about the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and its setting aside of a section in each township for the support of public schools?

Bill Wresch said...

You got me there. You are right -- 1787 was a good year for education.

Anonymous said...

So the three great moments are all the result of actions by political leaders and have nothing to do with the actions of academics. hmmmmm

Bill Wresch said...

Actually it is a bit worse than that. There appears to have been at least some resistance to each change by academics. For instance, the history of UW Stevens Point includes the barriers used to block science instruction which was thought to be too "vocational." The reason for Normal schools was the resistance of Madison to women students. Resistance was not universal, but it would be hard to build a case that faculty were leaders of the major innovations in university curricula.