Monday, June 30, 2008

Michael Ciamarra's "thinking" on higher education

Michael Ciamarra gets space in today's Montgomery Advertiser for ALABAMA VOICES: Keeping college affordable and actually makes some sense. However, his radicalism seeps out. I've posted on this Alabama Policy Institute VP before. Note his role as Alabama's Chair for Newt's American Solutions. Yet is Michael suggesting he's on the outside with his lament that legislative activities "somehow escape the notice of the pundits" as he examines efforts to provide tuition assistance for Alabama college students?

Michael is correct to lament the dreadful costs of higher education yet tax cuts for the elites and trashing of the middle class do have consequences Sir. The Bu$hCo reductions in student aid options has occurred as tuition has risen.

Indeed it is great to get a degree and yet over the last few years real income for people with college degrees has dropped. And is higher education about creating workers or thinkers? I've asked this before when Alabama's own Dr. Gregory Fitch of ACHE seemed to suggest it was all about preparing future workers.

Michael cites "educator" Margaret Spellings efforts and I presume he's shilling for her corporate loaded commission that recently called for "a nationwide system for comparative performance purposes, using standard formats." Once again, how can standardized testing measure anything without a national curriculum? What should students know? Is this the measure of true learning? Reckon there might be some profit opportunities here for the big education companies? I've mentioned how dreadful a job these testing providers often do with the blessed data and how they still rake in the money.

Terrible tenure receives an obligatory bashing. Newt never could get tenured so obviously the concept is for the incompetent and unproductive.

I could moan and groan on and on about the state of education policy, and pretty much everything else, yet strongly believe the conservatives have had their decades of rather strong dominance in the arena, media, think tanks, ... John Gunn

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