Yesterday when I quickly composed my paean to fighting a losing battle, I had no expectations beyond just running off to work, running all day, getting up and doing it again. I haven’t done a lot to actively promote my blog because I am trying to conceal my identity as long as possible and while I have a pseudonymous Twitter account, my Facebook proudly announces my institution and title.
So imagine my surprise when it went from the typical 20 odd views a day to 200 by 10 am.
Thank you, Bob Mann for picking it up and for the kind words about my blogsite. It truly means a lot especially coming from someone I’ve been following for years and who I respect greatly.
And for all the people who came my way and took it viral on Twitter last night… thank you.
It means a lot to know that people do care and not all of us in higher ed have been beaten, starved and intimidated into submission.
If you are new here, you will see that my take on things is informed by a niche perspective… that of someone in enrollment management. If you are at one of the larger institutions, especially LSU, ULL, and others that haven’t seen huge changes in enrollment, you may not have seen the full impact of what GRAD Act and Jindal’s policies in general have done to us other than from the funding side. But if you are at UNO, the regional schools, and the HBCUs, you see the impact. Community colleges see it too because you are working with more and more students who are there not because they want to be but because they have to be and they hurt your retention rates when they bolt for the 4 years long before getting a degree. That’s if they make it that far.
And anyone who has had anything to do with GRAD Act reporting knows that the “autonomy” promised in that law is nothing but vapor. We have increasing oversight for fewer funds year after year.
And students at several of our institutions are dangerously close to being priced out of our schools. Especially at LSU.
Anyway, the heart of what I have posted here is the public policy research that before now has only been shared with administrations at two institutions and the Board of Regents. It’s pretty dense and data intensive, but it really exposes the mechanics behind how GRAD Act was designed to shrink higher ed and access to affordable public education in our state.
And I’m not done. I haven’t gotten around to the performance agreements yet. Institutions were supposed to fail those, which started happening last year. Depriving institutions of funds does not help them perform better or retain students better.
And depriving schools who are set up to fail GRAD Act of even more funds doesn’t help them perform any better either.
GRAD Act had two purposes… shrink and weaken higher ed, and reduce access just to students with the ability to pay. These ensure that higher ed and the products of higher ed would no longer be in a position to politically oppose Jindal and his ilk.
If any leges are reading this, please, we need you to prefile a bill that strikes or modifies the “no dev ed” line in GRAD Act. This will free the Board of Regents to modify the state admission criteria. Then the criteria will be a matter of policy only and not codified in law. This is critical to keep us from systematically keeping African American students and students in poverty out of the 4 year institutions. It will allow us to keep more of our students in state and also get the growing number of high school grads in postsecondary institutions (4 and 2 year). This doesn’t eliminate admission criteria nor am I advocating for it. But let professional educators determine what those are with the best interests of our students in mind. We will all be better off.
Feel free to poke around, delve into the data if that’s your thing, and ask questions.
And for today I am greatly encouraged compared to yesterday.