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ALEC has a guide to help legislators reform state colleges and universities the right-wing way

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 09:52 AM
Original message
ALEC has a guide to help legislators reform state colleges and universities the right-wing way
Edited on Fri Apr-15-11 10:02 AM by highplainsdem
The is a new press release from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

ALECs Guide to Advancing American Colleges and Universities

10 Questions State Legislators Should Ask about Higher Education

(EMAILWIRE.COM, April 15, 2011 ) WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The contribution of state colleges and universities toward Americas well-being cannot be exaggerated. Successful education cultivates inspiration for American economic excellence, both domestically and internationally. Unfortunately, a variety of obstacles stand in our way: sky-rocketing costs for higher education, plummeting cuts to state budgets, students who are not prepared for their classes, and institutions that are stuck teaching in the 20th century when students need to be prepared for the 21st century economy.

When faced with these trials, legislators need immediate and comprehensive answers to get their state colleges and universities back on course as global leaders. But they first need to ask the right questions. This is why the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is proud to release the second edition of 10 Questions State Legislators Should Ask about Higher Education, written by Dr. Vicki E. Murray, Education Studies Associate Director and Senior Policy Fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

With shrinking budgets and growing demand for immediate solutions, legislators need to know what questions to ask in order to make informed policy decisions about higher education, says Dave Myslinski, director of ALECs Education Task Force. Our states must ensure that public higher education institutions are taking the proper steps toward continued excellence and innovation. This guide will help them reach the answers that America needs to remain viable in the future.

The publication provides 10 key questions legislators should ask to make the most informed policy decisions for their state. It addresses crucial issues such as academic quality, accountability, workforce preparation, access and affordability, and educational innovations. All of these components are essential for crafting effective higher education policy.

In addition to the essential questions, this guide supplies a multitude of resources to aid legislators in their research. These include a compendium of over 150 online resources, each with a useful website description, and a flow chart of references from the U.S. Department of Educations Institute of Educational Sciences. By utilizing these resources, lawmakers will be able to ensure the continued success of American higher education.

To download a free copy of 10 Questions State Legislators Should Ask about Higher Education, please visit

The PDF file of this guide can be found here:

And it includes a list of ALEC's model legislation on higher education in Appendix C.

For instance:

140 Credit Hour Act - This imposes a 25% surcharge on students who take more than 140 credit hours to complete a baccalaureate degree, and it also prevents colleges and universities from counting students who've taken more credit hours than that for funding purposes. This will of course help right-wing legislators put even more emphasis on career training instead of liberal arts.

Academic Bill of Rights for Public Higher Education Act - This bill emphasizes students' "right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of religious or political beliefs" and will institute more grievance procedures -- which of course are designed to allow Christian and conservative students to complain that liberal professors aren't fair to them.

College Opportunity Fund Act - This is essentially a school voucher act for higher education, to use state funds to support private colleges instead of state colleges.

College Savings Account Act - This will presumably benefit the wealthy as they save for their children's education much more than it will benefit the middle class and poor. More tax breaks for the wealthy, which ALEC can be depended on to favor.

Inclusive College Savings Plan Act - See above.

Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education Act - I think it would be safe to translate ALEC's idea of "intellectual diversity" as affirmative action for right-wing academics. Maybe they'd even call for science professors to teach creationism.
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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
1. from their guide: "State legislators should consider alterna- tives to typical funding structures. "
" For example, states can incentivize better performance through higher education financing by giving institutions greater autonomy in exchange for reduced public subsidies. One of the coun- trys top research institutions, the University of Michigan, is for all intents and purposes a privately-financed public university today. Only around 10 percent of its budget comes from state subsidies thanks to greater control over its mission and operations combined with aggressive cost-cutting and private fundraising efforts."

Yes, this is seen as a good thing- turn public universities into private ones, with the resulting sky high tuition levels of private universities.

For UM:
total costs:
In-state: $24,937
Out-of-state: $49,101
Tuition and Fees
In-state: $11,837
Out-of-state: $36,001
Room and Board
Books and Supplies
Other Expenses

So... we are talking a minimum of $100,000 for an in-state degree. Used to be that was ivy league territory.

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I agree that's a harmful change. Every single ALEC bill I've seen is harmful. Either
they harm the middle class and poor in favor of the rich and corporations, or they harm the environment in favor of corporations, or -- with the few bills that seem to be purely social legislation -- they're essentially just red meat for the social conservatives to keep them in line and voting obediently for the GOP.
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
3. kick
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