For those who may have missed the live webcast, here are the remarks from APSCUF President Steve Hicks at today’s launch of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education:
As Lil mentioned in opening, this campaign was only imagined back in January of this year. We just KNEW we needed it.
The horror stories in higher education news since January only heighten our sense of urgency. We need this campaign — and we need it NOW.
The de-funding of public higher education is racing at an unimaginable — and an ever faster — pace.
Let me give you an example:
In PA, in March the new governor proposed cutting public higher education by 54 percent. Fifty-four percent!
And he didn’t act like this historic proposal was beyond the pale, that it was giving up on a whole generation of Pennsylvanians.
Governor Corbett wanted us to face the budgetary truth, but we have to start facing another truth — you can’t provide quality education (or access to it) on the cheap.
Doing more with less has as its logical end getting something for nothing and we all know how that works out.
Part of the supposed solution in the last few years has been the creation and expansion of for-profit education (why not when the public is no longer willing to fund it?).
The scandals in the for-profit sector reveal the truth about the dishonesty and exploitation there — and the tragic costs for students. Even the unfinished story makes this clear — making money off higher education is not the same as meeting the needs of this country.
Stories like these — if you read IHE or the Chronicle or the education pages of local dailies — shows us that too much in higher education is going in the wrong direction.
We believe it will take principled action to turn things around and get us moving in a better direction.
You have a copy of the Campaign’s “Principles”; we think these point us in the right direction.
As those principles detail — and as I want to emphasize — this campaign is about CHANGE — but we need change that is good for our students and for the quality of higher education that they deserve.
Too often today, hawkers of “innovation” and “restructuring” of higher education have other agendas.
These principles are important, but it will take action to advance them.
One of our first projects in the campaign will be the formation of our own “think tank.” This think tank will do research, as all think tanks do, but it will be action-oriented research leading to new legislation, new policies on our campuses or in our states, or other changes.
Other actions will follow, but today, we’ve begun building this campaign by laying its foundation.
During the summer we will continue that building (which, as Lil said, will involve knocking down some more walls). We will have more announcements in the fall.
Update: You can view a rebroadcast of the webcast at www.visualwebcaster.com/CFHE. I have also assembled a list of news clips and blog posts on the Campaign’s launch.