Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

August 11, 2006

Education initiatives in Texas

Filed under: Education Finance, education priorities, Higher Education — texased @ 9:51 am

Pro-business education initiatives in Texas

MySA.com: KENS 5: Education:

The $2.5 billion will pay for laboratories, classrooms, state-of-the-art technology, renovations and startup packages to recruit world-class scientists.New buildings will add 5 million square feet to existing infrastructure at 14 universities and health institutions. In one fell swoop, the building boom will boost research space by 30 percent, Yudof said.

Too bad they’re going to have to go oversea’s to find students to fill the classes, see They’re Called “Weed Out” Classes.

MySA.com: KENS 5: Education:

Taking the lead is exactly what the university system is shooting for, according to a 10-year strategic plan approved by regents Thursday. The competitiveness initiative represents the first step in that plan.

This is a business “competitiveness” plan. Businesses in Texas are expected to benefit from the research dollars put into these programs. Talk about subsidizing businesses.

MySA.com: KENS 5: Education:

Here’s where the bulk of money for the initiative comes from:$678 million from tuition revenue bonds passed by state lawmakers in special session earlier this year.

$659 million in university-issued bonds paid back with student fees or projects that generate income.

$406 million from the Permanent University Fund, which collects income from oil and gas leases on university-owned land.

$302 million from private gifts.

$218 million from hospital revenues.

$191 million from federal, state or private grants.

Though the system could have channeled money into the arts or humanities, Yudof and James Huffines, chairman of the board of regents, said a focus on science, technology, engineering and medicine will help Texas compete in a global economy where American supremacy is no longer a given.

I have no problem with improving science and engineering education in higher education. Unfortunately, I don’t think this has anything to do with making sure more Texas students become scientists and engineers. From all indications, Texas will be to staff these positions with people from outside the state or the country. Again, not necessarily a bad thing except when you look to where the bulk of the funding comes from. Texas students, including those wasting their times in the arts and humanities, are financing over half of the funding.

This isn’t about putting more faculty in undergraduate classrooms or to improve teaching to ensure students don’t drop out of the science-based programs. This is about financing basic research for businesses in a state with one of the lowest corporate tax burdens in the country. Texas can find a way to finance buildings and other infrastructures at the post-secondary level in the name of competitiveness but won’t fund infrastructure for poor school districts or come up with the money to provide poor students with laptops and computers in the classroom. See Texas will pay for content but not access


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