The Path to Mediocrity in Higher Education: Florida Edition

Diary reposted and revised from DailyKos

Author: Bruce B. Janz, Winter Springs, Florida

In Florida, my (adopted) state, we have a “blue ribbon panel” on higher education, appointed by Florida Republican Tea Party governor Rick Scott. It is modeled on the Texas blue ribbon panel, and based on the Heartland Institute’s policy briefs on the issue. For source documentation, go to this site, and you will find a slideshow outlining what I am discussing here. They sketch out what they call “increasing evidence” that “US institutions of higher education are less efficient and decreasingly effective at creating the foundations for …success”. It promises to destroy Florida higher education (a claim that, I will argue, is in no way alarmist or extreme), a system which is already uncompetitive within American and world higher education. This proposal is being seriously considered in Florida in the upcoming legislative session.

The Heartland Institute begins from the assumptions I sketch below. I will respond to each. Then, I will outline their “solutions”, and give you all a sense of why I think this is a disaster for higher education. The parts in red are direct quotations from the Heartland document, and the references that are included in red are to their reference list in the slideshow, linked above.

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