Saturday, March 19, 2016

Illinois higher ed on NPR, and via a think tank

The NPR program Marketplace aired a story on Illinois' abandonment of public universities  on Friday, 3/18. The story does a nice job of providing the background to the crisis, and highlighting its impact on minority students (particularly but not only at Chicago State). Not much news for those of us living through it, but perhaps a good survey if you want to bring others up to speed. The story notes that's CSU's President, Thomas Calhoun, has been critical of Rauner, and that Rauner wasn't willing to be interviewed for the story despite multiple requests. (Madigan at least provided a spokesperson to talk to the show.)

The Center for American Progress, a liberal thank tank, on Thursday (3/17) released a story on the long-term decline of state support in Illinois for higher education. The story has more detail and statistics than most, including: MAP grants covered the full cost of tuition and fees as recently as 2002, but now cover only 1/3; lllinois now has the fourth-highest public tuition in the country. The "CAP" is calling for a federal intervention to reinvigorate public higher education across the country. Their proposal would increase federal aid and require states to match increases in federal spending; they would also add elements of performance based funding, but they seem to tie such measures more to low-income students than most such proposals (which end up rewarding universities with students more likely to graduate in the first place).

Federal intervention sounds welcome in Illinois, at least given the proposals from both Sanders and Clinton. On the other hand, federal intervention could mean . . .


  1. Unfortunately, that is the road we are heading towards. Remember Poshard's definition of university education as "a meal ticket to the middle class" and students as "customers"? Unfortunately, there will not be any middle class much longer and your observations on SIUC being a different place according to Dunn may mean the beginning of Scott Walker's Wisconsin goals for Illinois higher education by tailoring it to state job requirement needs. Sadly, changes may mean that SIUC administration achieve their goal of eliminating totally Foreign Languages since they decimated your Department by 50% in the 1973 purge. That will be a shame. BTW, I did do a classical Greek class in University way back and rose to the challenge of HECUBA and ANABASIS, the latter probably being relevant to SIUC's current situation!

  2. Anabasis certainly seems apropos--I would hope it is more apropos than Hecuba, though you, with your more radical leanings, might find the Hecuba, with its revenge plot, more appealing . . .

    Xenophon extricated the 10,000 from the Persia empire as much with his words as with his deeds, as the Greeks were fond of putting it. He learned how to speak from Socrates, among others. And he had absolutely no "career training".

    Foreign languages got hammered in 1973, true enough, but hasn't suffered any more than anyone else in recent years, and I've got no reason to believe we're any more the target for cuts than anyone else. That is still enough for us to face the elimination of Ancient Greek here, however (though we're still trying to come up with 'creative' ways to offer it).


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