Archive for Thursday, June 20, 2013

Regents want to restore higher ed funding cuts

June 20, 2013


— Stunned by legislative cuts to higher education, the Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday discussed how to get the Legislature to change direction and restore the funding.

Regent Kenny Wilk, of Lansing, said perhaps higher education officials weren't doing a good job getting the message across that improving higher education will improve the state's economy.

Wilk said one of the main goals of the regents is to increase the number of Kansans who have a post-secondary credential from 50 percent to 60 percent.

"That objective is one of the most important things we can do for our state," he said.

And, he said, achieving that goal will cost money.

Republican legislative leaders, however, have gone in the opposite direction.

They approved a 2-year budget that cuts $44 million in state funding to higher education. Gov. Sam Brownback had proposed flat funding for higher education, but he signed the budget cuts into law.

Mary Jane Stankiewicz, a spokeswoman for the regents, said the message that higher education produces better jobs "is still sound." She added, "We just have to expand our messenger base."

On Wednesday, the regents approved $34 million in tuition and fee increases at the six regents universities. The board members slammed the Legislature for the cuts, saying much of the increased tuition was needed to cover those reductions.

At Thursday's meeting, Stankiewicz read a quote from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, who called the regents' criticisms "baloney."

After hearing that, Regents Chair Tim Emert, of Independence, said, "No comment."

The regents will conduct a work session next month on higher education's next budget request.

Incoming chairman, Fred Logan of Leawood said, "We think all of those cuts need to be restored."

He added, "You cannot have economic growth if you are cutting university budgets. You are not going to have economic growth in Kansas if the University of Kansas Medical Center is getting hammered the way that it did. It is a very important engine of economic growth."

KUMC was cut $8.3 million in the budget.


Roger Tarbutton 4 years, 12 months ago

Not sure how increasing college graduate rate from 50-60% does much unless they are in valuable majors that add something to the economy. If that is the goal, why doesn't Kansas join the states offering online degrees thru Western Governors University. My understanding is they offer excellent online degree programs with good majors such as nursing at more reasonable cost than KUMC.

gatekeeper 4 years, 12 months ago

I wouldn't want a nurse taking care of me that got a degree online. Wouldn't you prefer that someone in the health care field actually work with patients, in labs, etc...? You do realize that grades received for any degree online are pretty bogus because everything is open book? Sorry, there's a good reason to memorize all the parts of the body, drug interactions, etc....

parrothead8 4 years, 12 months ago

Your argument breaks down when you say, "...that adds something to the economy." Who can predict which "valuable majors" will add to the economy in 5, 10, or 20 years? Some of the most popular jobs now didn't exist 10-20 years ago. You can push for people to get narrowly-focused degrees and continue nudging our Universities down the path of becoming glorified trade schools, but if that's your only concern - that college graduates "add to the economy" - then we've already lost. We'll only produce worker bees.

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney, was an English major. As was Michael Lynne, Chairman of New Line Cinema and Herb Scannell, President of Nickolodeon and MTV Networks.

There are tons of others, and there are plenty of careers that are easy paths for English majors right out of college in things like technical writing, communication, PR, etc. It's also a great undergrad for people seeking law degrees or even studying other areas of science, like English major and astronaut, Sally Ride or English major and nobel laureate in medicine, Harold Varmus.

Just because you don't have the imagination to see the use for the degree doesn't mean there is no benefit, or that every single English major must work in some "Englishy" field in order to be considered successfully educated by the university system.

bevy 4 years, 12 months ago

Thanks Chootspa - from another English major who is gainfully employed in a high-tech field. Get so tired of the BS about us. Doesn't help that I double-majored in History.

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

I wasn't an English major, but I did get a liberal arts degree and am now employed doing things that didn't exist when I went to college.

Laura Wilson 4 years, 12 months ago

Never heard of being well-rounded? Big business often looks to hire people with liberal arts degrees over business degrees because they want people who can see outside of the business box to the world at large. You learn to think differently and critically with an English degree or History degree etc. My brother was hired by a multi-national accounting firm because he had a degree in History over Business and has worked his way up to partner. He's not the only one by far.

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

Exactly. You need universities that teach people how to think, not how to make narrowly defined, high-demand widgets "for the economy."

Seth Peterson 4 years, 12 months ago

I'm stealing this line now and for forever.

gatekeeper 4 years, 12 months ago

The Kock brothers, Brownback, etc... want a dumb population. It's easier to control the masses and use them for your own benefit if they aren't educated. They've underfunded public schools. Now stripping money from the universities. There was a reason why African American slaves weren't allowed to be taught to read. There was a reason why serfs weren't allowed to learn to read. Look back through history, those in power always did their best to keep the lower classes poor, uneducated and fearful.

Welcome to the feudal system of the 21st century.

What's next, prima nuptia?

It isn't just in KS, it's nationwide.

Look into the Bilderberg group and you'll understand. The goal is to have only two classes, the ruling, wealthy class and serfs.

positive 4 years, 12 months ago

^This. I don't mind if more people go (or not). However, I would hope that by keeping high standards, students would rise to the challenge. Lowering standards for getting a mortgage proved to be a bad idea. Lowering standards for college is just as bad.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 12 months ago

"At Thursday's meeting, Stankiewicz read a quote from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, who called the regents' criticisms "baloney.""

Keep it classy and professional, Mr. Rhoades.

Kansas has been overtaken by ideological anarchists who want to destroy government and public institutions. They don't want to make public institutions better and more efficient. They want to do away with them.

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