Dixie Darr

In creativity, Learning on January 2, 2009 at 10:36 am

Academic Freedom/Not

The headline in The Denver Post this morning read, “Colleges: Free us or fund us.” For a minute I thought the local college presidents were asking to become private, entrepreneurial entities, an idea that excited me quite a bit. Basically, I think that government agencies, by definition, don’t work. And I indulged briefly in a humorous fantasy about the sluggish, bureaucracy-laden colleges trying to become fast-moving, customer-oriented private industries.

Then I read the rest of the article. It seems that the college and university presidents are miffed about being told by the state how much they can raise tuition rates even when the state refuses to fund them at what they consider adequate levels. One university president said, “I understand money that comes with strings, but strings without money I don’t get.” They don’t want freedom (and the responsibility that comes with it) after all.

Oh, well. After the economic fiascos in the private sector last year, I’m not sure we can trust the private sector any more than the public. What does that leave? For the record, my current favorite colleges include one public institution: Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey, and one private, non-profit, online school: Western Governors University.

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