Here’s a simple fact everyone ought to know, but most don’t.
Most Americans believe state spending for public universities and colleges has, in fact, increased or at least held steady over the last 10 years, according to a new survey by American Public Media.
They’re wrong. States have collectively scaled back their annual higher education funding by $9 billion during that time, when adjusted for inflation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, or CBPP, reports.
No, really! Universities don’t want to raise tuition, ever — we think our mission is important enough that we ought to be providing college educations for free — but every year our administrators have to go before the state congress and outright beg for support, and almost every year the politicians see the education budget as something they can raid for other pet projects. Every tuition increase is a response to declining state support.
I didn’t know this, though.
And the United States remains 13th in the world in the number of 25- to 34-year-olds who have some kind of college or university credential, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development says.
“Fifteen or 20 years ago we had the most highly educated population in the world,” said Kevin Reilly, former president of the University of Wisconsin System, who now runs a program at the Association of Governing Boards called the Guardians Initiative to help university trustees push back against public and political skepticism about the value of higher education.
Falling behind the likes of South Korea, Canada and Russia in the proportion of people with degrees “is not a trend we can tolerate if we’re going to continue to be competitive in a global knowledge economy,” said Reilly. “More and more of our people are going to have to be competent at higher and higher levels of knowledge and skills. We’re really damaging the future of our competitiveness and I would argue even our security.”
“Make America Great Again” seems to translate to “Make America Stupid Again”. Or maybe stupider? I don’t know, can’t grammar properly anymore. Brain slipping away. Feed me knowledge before I become a Republican.