The new governor, Pat McCrory, indicated what that would mean for higher education in a talk show appearance with Bill Bennett, ex-drug czar, and one time humanist. The interview has been widely reported but it is hard to catch its tone. Some quotations, however, give a taste of it:
“[My funding plan for higher education is] not based on butts in seats but on how many of those butts can get jobs."
“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs…”
“….if you want to take gender studies, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if it’s not going to get someone a job.”
You have to hear the interview to believe it. McCrory shot himself in the foot by making it sound as if he wanted to turn two hundred years of UNC excellence into a vocational training program: http://www.billbennett.com/michaelmedved/player.aspx?g=aHR0cDovL21lZGlhLnRvd25oYWxsLmNvbS90b3duaGFsbC9iZW5uZXR0L0dvdk1jQ3JvcnkxLjI5LjEzLm1wMw^!^^!^
The Governor clearly underestimated a potent force in NC politics -- the loyalty of NC citizens to the University of North Carolina’s long history of accessible, high-quality public education. The reaction in the state and nationally was swift and strong – news articles, op ed pieces, letters to the editor etc. My own contribution, entitled “The Gold Standard, is at http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/02/10/2664770/w-robert-connor-gold-standard.html
Most dramatic has been the success of an electronic petition that at last count had over 12,000 signatures, and some sharply wsorded comments:P http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2013/02/01/hundreds-tell-gov-mccrory-to-respect-liberal-arts-education/
No doubt McCrory fans like his bashing of the “elites” but so far his plan for vocationalizing public higher education seems to have blown up in his face. Stay tuned. I’ll report as I learn more.