Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Cost of Education

I'm always tickled when I hear politicians jockeying for sound-bite position on the evening news by hammering on the importance of higher education. Our own Gov. Granholm claims to be committed to bringing the opportunity of college "to the masses," as it were:

In her weekly radio address, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said the promise of a higher education must become a reality for every child in Michigan if the state is to succeed in a global economy. Granholm said she is committed to making education beyond high school more affordable and more accessible for every student. (8/12/06)

"Thank you for your commitment to higher education," Granholm said, pointing to the need for a college-educated workforce to fill jobs in the alternative-energy sector in which she wants Michigan to become a leader. (3/11/08)

Granholm will ask higher education officials to halt tuition increases and ask state legislators to approve additional state funding to colleges and universities that comply, said Liz Boyd, Granholm’s spokeswoman. “We are hoping and expecting that universities will realize, as we do, that in these very tough economic times, we need to protect our citizens and their pocketbooks,” Boyd said. (2/1/09)

I think most of this is a load of shit, personally. I was an early Granholm supporter, but time after time she has wrapped herself in a blanket of righteousness while secretly whittling away at the cause she claims to champion. In this case, Gov. Granholm is making what SOUND like good claims for the future of Michigan: Yes! Let's have ALL our kids go to college, and we'll be, like, totally the greatest state EVAH! On top of that rah-rah kind of let's-ramp-up-the-crowd cheerleading, she also plays populist with parents by "forcing" universities to halt tuition increases. Hey, parents, I'm on YOUR side, and those miserable fuckers at State U. are really just heavin' it up your tailpipe, aren't they?

Like I said: a load of shit. The only thing Gov. Granholm has done for higher ed in this state is to pull the rug out from under it. Which, duh, because we're in the toilet economically. For once, Michigan is EL NUMERO UNO! Yay. Let me grab a whole case o'whiskey to celebrate the new unemployment numbers. It's not that I even necessarily BLAME Granholm for needing to cut state expenditures somwhere…this mess ain't hers, after all! It belongs to three terms of the incalculably shitty governorship of John Engler, who managed to saddle Michigan with looming deficits and future fiscal crises even during the high boom-times of the 1990s. But, her hypocrisy is blatant and unforgivable. She wants every kid in Michigan to have the chance to go to college - this, despite the fact that she'd have to shell out billions of dollars to build new classroom buildings and dorms, and hire thousands of new faculty across the state - but she has gutted the very thing that previously kept college…well, if not CHEAP, then certainly a potential dream. No more. My college president recently had this to say about rising tuition costs:

"What we do know is that Michigan’s investment in higher education will significantly decline in the coming years. Two decades ago, state appropriations comprised 60 percent of CMU’s funding. Today, it comprises just 22 percent. "

There ya go. A 38% drop in state funding since the beginning of the Engler administration. Oh, and he's to blame too, the miserable fuckin' dick, but at least he had the excuse of BEING a miserable fuckin' dick to begin with. He never made any bones about working to fuck the poor any chance he got…a good, honest politician was ole' Johnny E. But Granholm comes along and plays a shell game with parents - Look here, it's the University's fault! No, look here, it's the greedy faculty's fault! - and while you're hypnotized by the speed of her right-hand machinations, secretly her left hand was stripping away another 3%.

You wanna keep college a dream for the less-fortunate? Give 'em a chance to break the fuck out and escape? Tell your friggin' Congressman and Senator to stop sending bills to the Governor wiping out college appropriations. Otherwise, face the facts: college is expensive, and that's that. The day I'd support a tuition freeze is the same day I'd support a freeze on ALL costs and salaries. Oh, wait, Tricky Dick already TRIED that, didn't he? How'd THAT work out?


Post a Comment

<< Home