Reader's View: State not supporting public higher education
A Gallup poll released the second week of October found that only 48 percent of Americans -- including only 39 percent of Republicans -- have "confidence" in higher education. The reasons for this are complicated, with many of them rooted in a ge...
A Gallup poll released the second week of October found that only 48 percent of Americans - including only 39 percent of Republicans - have "confidence" in higher education. The reasons for this are complicated, with many of them rooted in a general misunderstanding of what our universities do.
Regardless, as an educator this worries me.
Years ago, in recognizing the essential role that our public postsecondary institutions play in preparing Minnesotans for responsible citizenship, productive employment, and the complex challenges of our modern world, the state Legislature pledged to provide "at least 67 percent" of the revenue needed to operate the institutions. Today, this seems like a pipe dream, with the state contribution far below this number.
The decline in state support has forced our public universities to essentially privatize, with tuition now the principal means by which they pay for the cost of instruction. Too many legislators fail to appreciate the value that the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities bring to our communities.
In Duluth, we are fortunate to be represented by legislators who get it. Rep. Jen Schultz, for example, has been a strong supporter of public higher education. She recognizes that a well-educated citizenry is necessary for a healthy democracy, strong economy, and rich cultural life.