Scott Walker Strikes Again

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

For a quarter of a century, Republican presidential candidates have uttered variations of George H. W. Bush’s high pitched pledge: “I want to be the education president.” It has gotten them exactly nowhere.

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So far, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is trying a different approach, one that dovetails interestingly with some surprising changes in how colleges run themselves. Simply put, Governor Walker has urged universities in the Badger State to teach more and spend less.

Now, universities far from Badgerland are actually trying, in their academic way, to do just that. For example, just about every issue of the GW Hatchet at George Washington University brings news of budget cuts there.

The latest: Imaginative lawmakers from outside the Midwest are proposing reforms remarkably similar to Governor Walker’s.

“A bill introduced in late March in the North Carolina General Assembly has set college faculty members across the state abuzz with a bold suggestion:  Require all professors within the University of North Carolina system to teach at least eight courses each academic year,” Paul L.Caron of the Pepperdine School of Law reports on his blog. “Senate Bill 593, titled ‘Improve Professor Quality/UNC System,’ would reduce the salary of any professor who fails to hit that annual mark.”

“The backlash from faculty across the state was immediate — and unsurprising. Professors expressed outrage. Many said a mandated 4/4 course load — four courses per semester – would make it impossible to focus on their research and other responsibilities.”