A vast majority of Tennesseans believe their public school system needs changing, as found by a recent Vanderbilt University poll. Thankfully, state leaders don’t have to play a guessing game to determine which reforms would best serve Tennessee’s children.
While South Carolinians can take pride in our state’s higher educational system, costs and tuition have skyrocketed in recent years, even as graduation rates remain below 40 percent. At the same time, South Carolina’s leading universities have been drawn away from their core mission and increasingly become conduits for the Legislature’s economic development plans. The solution is to refocus on student performance, cut administrative costs and look to innovative technology that will improve both access and affordability.
The S.C. Budget and Control Board recently announced a moratorium halting construction at four-year public institutions that raised tuition by 7 percent or more for the 2010-2011 school year.
The moratorium applies only to institutions that raised tuition by 7 percent or more. This means it does not apply to the University of South Carolina, which raised tuition by 6.9 percent. But it does apply to Clemson, which raised tuition by 7.5 percent.
So how is tuition connected to capital building projects?
For years, the General Assembly has shut the door, cut deals with lobbyists and given away billions of dollars in incentives.
- Using money that’s only available for one year to fund ongoing functions of government
Legislators are taking $150 million from various earmarked/restricted funds to pay for ongoing obligations at the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services (Medicaid).
- Using millions in “anticipated” revenue to fund pet projects
Governor Bobby Jindal’s short tenure in office has received extensive coverage from local and national media. And while several pieces of new legislation have garnered much attention, two important developments have gone largely unnoticed: Executive Order No. BJ 2008-2 and Senate Bill 37.
These new laws mandate the creation of a website where state spending will be posted and require increased transparency in state finances. Together, they signify that Louisiana is moving towards making all government spending information accessible via the internet.
Here’s an eye-opening school statistic for you: Only half of Oklahoma’s public education employees are teachers. The bureaucracy is now so big, it takes up half the system. It’s the blob that ate the schools.
Teachers’ unions, and the lousy teachers they protect, have become the central villain in the epic drama of education reform. And well they deserve the role—teachers’ unions exist to fatten themselves by destroying children’s lives.
Oklahoma public schools that violate the civil rights of students risk losing federal education funds, U.S. Department of Education official Jim Bradshaw told CapitolBeatOK recently.
That information may be of particular interest to advocates of, and families with, special-needs schoolchildren—the beneficiaries of a new state law intended to improve their educational options. While state money is involved in the new statute, federal civil rights provisions could still apply.
School vouchers, like the Republican Party, are back in a big way. The question for vouchers, as for the GOP, is: Have they learned their lesson?
Just a few years ago, the smart people were declaring vouchers dead. “An Idea Whose Time Has Gone: Conservatives Abandon Their Support for School Vouchers” declared the headline of a much-discussed article in Washington Monthly. The article declared that vouchers were on the way out, permanently.
On March 15 in Oklahoma City, the past met the future.
Carrying signs that read “Stop the War on Workers,” “Collective Bargaining: Backbone of the Middle Class,” and “Don’t Dismantle Public Education,” hundreds of Oklahoma schoolteachers rallied at the state capitol. They expressed concern over school spending, pension reforms, and legislation making it easier to fire bad teachers.