Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A New Walker Report on Wisconsin Higher Education

Don't you just love last-minute breaking news when you're trying to head out the door on vacation? Come on.....! 


Tim Sullivan, businessman, has issued a blueprint prepared for Governor Scott Walker that includes some significant plans for higher education.

Among its highlights:

  • The skills gap demonstrated by highly-esteemed economists, as well as leading Wisconsin organizations with sizable expertise in business and higher education is apparently a "myth."  Writes Sullivan, "there are opportunities available if people know where to look and can see the value." (p.101) Sure, he admits his is no scientific study-- after all, he is doing policy analysis by anecdote, drawing on his experiences at his own company-- but gee, he's sure confident there's a myth out there to be busted!
  • The costs of Wisconsin Technical Colleges are too high because they are doing too much--namely, wasting time on liberal arts college transfer, "spending millions" before "technical education even comes into the picture."
  • The new online initiative in UW System is expected to "change the face of education in Wisconsin."  Boy, and we just thought it was an addition, not a replacement....
  • UW System, including UW-Madison, is "failing" to produce enough new start-ups, and needs to be more focused on business collaborations.
  • We should open the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (which already runs out of money every year compared to demand among degree-seeking students) to non-degree seeking students. Yes, he said "open" the grant-- not add funding to the grant. Hmm.
  • UW System should pay the additional tuition if students don't finish their degrees in 4 years.  That's right-- UWS-- not the state, even though economists like John Bound and Sarah Turner convincingly demonstrate that time-to-degree rises because states cut funding to universities! 
  • The publics should act more like the privates and give out more financial aid.  The latter give out a wider range of aid.  Again, duh....wonder why.

Ok, enough. Read the darned thing for yourself, and write in and tell us all about your favorite parts.  Tim Sullivan, businessman, here to save higher ed.