In case you haven’t been reading, the nonsense that has been plaguing American public high schools is apparently now spreading to its public universities. The University of Virginia has now lost its chancellor, and the resignations look to continue.
Why? The chancellor refused to give in to interests from the Board, several of whom appear to have been taking their marching orders from the College of Business. Among the things that she was not willing to concede are apparently:
1. Cutting programs that were showing no return for the university (Classics and German were specifically cited). This despite a report that shows that these departments tend to run cost neutral or make a profit vs. engineering and medicine which operate at net losses.
2. An unwillingness to open an online center for granting degrees. Note: she was not opposed to online classes, but was opposed to turning the University of Virginia into an online diploma mill.
To get a gist of this, try this sad piece from Fox News. It basically explains that the top schools are “too selective” and are doing a disservice to the state tax payers by refusing to get with it and be … less selective. The author specifically calls out MIT and Stanford as flirting with online work, but refusing to work within “the public interests”. At the bottom of the article, you will note that this guy is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business.
On the one hand, I hope that the ridiculousness of these arguments will bring into focus the real problem: Schools are not businesses. Schools should not be run like businesses. Business models should not be applied to schools beyond small reasonable means.
If anything, the argument could be made that there are too many universities and colleges out there. I would accept that argument! I hate to descend into political demagoguery, but here seems to be an attempt by extremists to gain political control of the universities: they will teach only what we want, only how we want, and that will allow us to control the students.
This is nothing brand new, as almost a year ago, I blogged about the University of Texas system thinking of taking the same asinine steps in the name of business savvy.
This economy had better start turning around soon to prevent short sighted folks like this from taking control of the entirety of education.