*Update – 4/2/15* In case you are a new visitor to this blog, please check out my four-part series on how Jindal’s policies shrank higher ed when all institutions really should be growing. This is the public policy research that I’ve been working on since GRAD Act was first announced in 2010, and until now has not been released to the public other than some cautionary posts published on Daily Kos back before GRAD Act was passed.
Inspired by Bob Mann’s call to higher education leaders to speak up, speak out, and speak loudly, I am about to do just that. There are several Louisiana bloggers who are exposing what education “reformers” in the Jindal administration have done to destroy secondary education in this state, including Crazy Crawfish (Jason France) and deutch29 (Mercedes Schneider). They touch on higher education but their main focus is on the Louisiana Department of Education and the privatization of public education through charter schools and vouchers. Bob Mann’s Something Like the Truth and Louisiana Voice (Tom Aswell) are doing the same although they explore state government and politics in general.
I respect all these bloggers greatly and have lurked on their blogs for a while now. I’ve even contacted a few.
But we need a voice for higher education. One who doesn’t care what the personal consequences are. One whose speaking out won’t necessarily result in serious consequences for the campus they lead either because (1) I do not and am not representing my campus officially or even unofficially in this venue and (2) I can just be fired.
I’m fully expecting that may happen. That might not, but I’m going forward assuming I can be. And that’s OK.
I’m not a higher education leader per se. I am a junior administrator. And I’m not a particularly brave person who seeks out confrontation. I am outspoken in my professional circles and can write a little. But the persona I use here (ulyankee) is a little braver online than the person behind it you might see in person and armed with data can be very dangerous.
I also don’t care what the personal consequences are. If I get sent home to write I’ll have to make some lifestyle adjustments but I’m prepared to do that.
So if it’s me instead of one of the leaders that Bob Mann was looking for, so be it.
I am going to expose GRAD Act and the Trojan horse that it is. The original GRAD Act law and agreements were for six years. I have heard (credible) rumors that Gov. Jindal is going to try to introduce legislation to make GRAD Act permanent. He must be stopped. And I’m going to stand in the way. NO ONE I know in higher ed circles likes GRAD Act. NO ONE. It has been a disaster. But it was politically brilliant because it makes campus failures look like OUR FAULT, not HIS.
I am going to expose the fraud.
I am going to show how it has been largely on the backs of our African American students and students of poverty, and the worst impacts have been felt on the campuses which serve the largest proportions of African American students in poverty.
And that the only way that it could have worked at all is if our state pumped HUGE resources into our community college system.
Which we didn’t. We de-funded those too.
So it is all on the table. I’m not a campus leader but I’m high enough in administration that I see a few things, plus low enough to the ground where I see a few more.