Archive for Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brownback tells Kansas Regents to improve higher education but not to expect extra funding

Governor says admissions standards may need to be raised

August 17, 2011


Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday told higher education officials that they must improve the academic rankings of Kansas universities and that he has no problem with raising admission standards at the schools.

But the Republican governor also told the Kansas Board of Regents not to expect much extra funding for higher education. He warned of tight budget times ahead because of pressures to cut the federal budget.

“Our revenues are starting to come back as a state, but they are not coming back as fast as we are losing federal monies,” he said.

He said Kansas schools need to focus on core strengths and that may mean that some less-used degree programs should be disbanded.

Brownback’s comments came during a wide-ranging discussion with the regents, which completed its three-day retreat.

Regent Robba Moran of Hays said she agreed with Brownback’s position. “The more specific and targeted we are, totally makes sense,” she said.

Brownback said the regents should set goals for the higher education system, measure them and implement consequences if the marks aren’t met.

He cited the U.S. News & World Report ranking of Kansas University, Kansas State University and other regents schools, and said improvement must be made. In the 2010 report, KU ranked 47th among national public universities and K-State, 66th.

“We have got to do better than that,” Brownback said. He said improving the quality of the higher education is key to reversing negative economic trends.

“You have probably the best asset pool we have to change these numbers,” he told the regents.

Since a sizable portion of the academic rankings deals with admission standards, Brownback said he would support individual universities tightening standards as long as Kansas high school graduates still had the opportunity to attend a regents school.

Brownback also said he wants to increase emphasis on technical training in high schools and colleges, saying that most future jobs will require some kind of technical skill.

Regent Dan Lykins of Topeka noted that for the first time in history, tuition is making up more of funding higher education than state appropriations. He asked Brownback if that will continue.

Brownback answered, “It’s going to be very competitive for state dollars for some time.”


getreal 6 years, 10 months ago

yes universities must compete for state dollars going to pay the lawyer friends Brownback and Schmidt are hiring to represent them in all the senseless lawsuits they have created for themselves. Wake up Kansas!

William Weissbeck 6 years, 10 months ago

“Our revenues are starting to come back as a state, but they are not coming back as fast as we are losing federal monies,” he said. Oh, that damn stimulus money and federal tax revenues - we don't want any of that. And let's raise those admissions standards and tuition. We don't want any educated common folk in Kansas.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 10 months ago

I don't necessarily disagree with Brownback. There are things that universities (KU) could do to improve that would cost no money and actually might save money.

Increase admission standards and increase tuition. More aggressively pursue out of state students with good academic credentials.

These measures do fly in the face of the "little guy" populism and anti-intellectualism that Brownback speaks out of the other side of his mouth to.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 10 months ago

Doesn't KU raise tuition nearly every year at this point?

therxbandit 6 years, 10 months ago

The office of Admissions and Scholarships does a hell of a lot to try and recruit kids from out of state. Especially kids from the Midwest. The problem is getting kids to come to school that is so underfunded compared to much of the other Big 12/Midwest schools.

Kim Murphree 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh good...let's exclude more Kansas kids from a college education all the while cutting funding to k-12 --- why not just make KU a private college? Oh wait...that's what this guy wants....more elitist thinking--only wealthy kids need to have access to an education...

Kim Murphree 6 years, 10 months ago

You know, that's a bunch of hooey...there are tons of kids who have entered KU in the past with less than wonderful grades to go on and have very successful college and business careers. Your stereotyping reflects a real lack of experience in this area. And there are lots of kids who excel or peak in high school that don't do so well in college. High school has its own set of issues for kids---and these issues don't generally present themselves in college. So, I don't know where you get your information or if you are just pulling it out from somewhere random, but its really not reflective of how many really smart kids don't have a great run in high school

Joe Hyde 6 years, 10 months ago

Uh oh. Here it comes: "No High School Graduate Left Behind".

Reduce state funding and our universities lose their best professors. Simultaneously raise admission standards while imposing "consequences" (more cuts in state funding) to punish those universities that don't meet arbitrary state-imposed academic proficiency goals.

Wonder if they handed out sugar cubes during this Regents retreat, because this is, well...NCLB on LSD.

woodscolt 6 years, 10 months ago

Yet another example of the delusion this guy operates under. What a freaking clown. "What's the matter with Kansas" has taken on a whole new meaning. The race to the bottom is at break neck speed. At this rate, 3rd world status will only be a bump in the road on the way to 4th world status and still digging. At least the moles will be happy.

50YearResident 6 years, 10 months ago

I like his open arms posture. Is he trying to use body language?

overthemoon 6 years, 10 months ago

I was noticing the wavey wallpaper boarders parting with the flourish of his fingertips.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 10 months ago

Woodscolt: Maybe, if we work at it really hard, we can win the race to the bottom and surpass Texas. 50th out of 50 is a laudable goal, isn't it? I love it when Gov. Perry takes credit for the Texas 'employment boom.'

CrazyUkrainian1 6 years, 10 months ago

Our standards for elected officials need to be raised! Brownback is the epitome of ignorance!

blindrabbit 6 years, 10 months ago

Sam the sham doing his rendition of John Steuart Currys's "John Brown". Even though the subject of the Curry work has sympathy for the downtrodden, less fortunate and meek; Smilin Sam has none of these attributes. He from Parker, Kansas has made substantial wealth on not-earned federal farm subsidies received on his family farm, that coupled with a marriage into Kansas publishing wealth (Stauffer Communications) has driven any humility from his tortured soul. Interesting, though Brown was a humanist, he was likely a mental case, making a comparison justifiable.

overthemoon 6 years, 10 months ago

Raising the standard for graduating from high school would be a good place to start. Its ridiculous that most incoming college students require a year of remedial math, science or english before they can start their major coursework. And then those that don't go onto college have only a very basic education behind them. That is the silent shame of our country.

jafs 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree.

Students graduating from high school should be more well educated than they are right now.

TheEyeofUS 6 years, 10 months ago

There has been a clear problem w/public education in our nation. The Dept. of Ed. gets more and more money each year but by percentage less and less students graduate. MONEY is not the answer to all problems. The Gov. needs to quit tying teachers and other gov. employees hands behind their backs w/too many policies and regulations and just let them do their jobs. When the Gov. gives money to education they also give them new rules and silly regulations to follow which make gov. employees, like teachers, less motivated and less productive. They have no incentive anymore other than keeping their jobs and taking care of their families. A civil servant job is difficult enough. Give them rein already!

Michael Rowland 6 years, 10 months ago

I know most people don't want to hear this but the admissions at KU are extremely lax. There are many undergrads enrolled who just aren't cut or aren't ready for a college education. It's why the bachelor's degree is becoming the new high school degree, they're pretty much handed out for an educational experience you could have had in high school! Some actual admissions standards will increase the quality of classes and the value of a KU degree. College is not something that should be absolutely expected to occur in everyone's academic careers, many just aren't cut for it.

blindrabbit 6 years, 10 months ago

Standards at KU and other institutions began a steeper slide to mediocrity as a result of some issues that had their beginning in the late-1960's. Many male students were clamoring to find a means of avoiding the debacle in Viet Nam, namely the draft. I had attended KU for two years, 1962 and 1963, then joined the military (voluntary) and returned to KU in 1967-1971. The changes that occurred between those two periods were very apparent to me. The decline in admission standards, quality of education and diminished grading standards were especially evident. Somehow this trend has continued, to the point that a college degree is nowhere nearly as prestigious as it once was

jonas_opines 6 years, 10 months ago


I wanted to say that before the comment gets axed

evilpenguin 6 years, 10 months ago

If he's going to start raising standards to get in to universities, he had better start re-investing into the school system that he is systematically destroying.

jafs 6 years, 10 months ago

That would be logical.

But I wouldn't expect that from this governor.

The new mantra seems to be "do more with less", unless of course you're the state and want to hire expensive outside counsel instead of using the AG's office to defend against lawsuits.

tomatogrower 6 years, 10 months ago

It wouldn't matter how much our revenues increased. Brownback will give his rich cronies a tax cut before he lets any of it go towards education. Hopefully he will be gone when our economy bounces back.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 10 months ago

I suppose if you beat a mule hard enough he won't need a carrot after plowing a field...

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