EDUCAf AS’ RESOURCE ‘FOR.TOKORROW EDUCATION BEYOND 14 itiOilTV.HODL ‘4’. 4 , . The Cover of the Report of the Governor’s Committee ly by concentrated on the faculty and administrative staffs of the institutions. Any large-scale building program should be deferred until comprehensive long-range plans, based on studies by the Coordinating Board, are available three to five years add that scholarship and fellowship aid, items which the report merely mentions in the midst of many other proposals, should be included in the priorities. Overall the statewide estimates of expenditure for the future are as follows: for the 1965-67 biennium, $420 million \(as compared with $255 million for the current provements and excellence funds; for the 1967-69 biennium, $591 million, with $211 million of that for improvements and excellence funds. A word about the proposed tuition increase which the report recommends to help finance its proposals. This has raised some student and parent protest, as it should. Some of my colleagues argue that tuition and fees in the Texas system are about the lowest in the nation and that anyone who seriously wants an education can manage $100 more a year. Maybe so, but doubling the tuition statewide would amount to only $30 million extra a year and would not by any means be a substitute for new taxes. The main value of a tuition increase is supposed to be that it will find favor with the legislature, but at this writing the governor has not taken a stand for or against it and has failed to include it in his budget, which may mean that it will be distinctly unpopular. Also, there are large numbers of people not now getting an education who must be drawn at least to the junior colleges if the future envisaged by the governor’s committee is to come into being. They are for the most part poor and culturally denied. They will need all sorts of attention, financial and other, if they are to be prepared to occupy a place of minimum dignity in society. Most certainly a tuition increase at this time would increase the financial and psychological alienation of the deprived from higher education. It seems to me very shortsighted even to think of increasing tuition without at least linking it absolutely to a dramatically-expanded program of scholarships and fellowships. The aim ought to be to make education more, not less accessible. UP TO THIS POINT I have hit some of the high spots and have tried to suggest the main drift of the report. There is no question that more planning and more money are necessary if the state colleges and universities are to make any showing at all, and the governor’s committee deserves support for facing reality this squarely. At the same time, it is reasonable to be disappointed in the report for a number of reasons. Most fundamentally, it betrays a biased, partial, intellectually impoverished attitude towards higher education. Everywhere the report argues its case from an economic, commercial, industrial point of view. Even though it says that “the programs designed to meet the demand for manpower deserve no more emphasis than the programs designed, to improve general studies in the sciences, social sciences, the humanities, the fine arts, and independent creative activity,” the totality of the report gives just the opposite impression. People who are to be educated are “human resources.” There is a great deal of talk about the efficient use of plant. Figure 6 tries to vivify the importance of higher education to the individual by piles of coins showing how much one can earn in a lifetime according to the level of one’s education. Apparently education is conceived of in terms of the occupation, profession, and income it leads to. The following statement is typical of this superficial bias: “A widespread awareness of the economic significance of excellence in education must be created. The native intelligence and ingenuity which once facilitated the conversion of land and cattle into realistic economic assets must now be employed to convert our Texas people into a better trained and more productive citizenry. The challenges of technologies, such as the space sciences, require this generation and its leaders to develop the unlimited potential of the human and physical resources of this state, and to produce a system of education beyond the high school which will challenge every Texan to develop his talents, technical or academic, to the fullest. Texas is at the crossroads of mediocrity and greatness, were not evidence to the contrary, one might think this passage satiric. Unfortunately it is dead serious. Just as depressing is the report’s constant use of the term “excellence” and its equally constant failure to say what it means, other than to burden the idea with monetary implications. It is easy enough to infer that perhaps the report intends excellence to include better faculty, higher standards of academic performance, more money, more planning, more degrees and degree programs, more educational TV channels, uniform minimum standards for academic tenure and freedom as outlined by t h e American Association of University Professors, and so on. All these and more are mentioned in the report. But even if everything they encompass were brought into being. the overall commercial-industrial approach to thinking about education so deeply woven into the words of the governor’s committee would almost certainly keep the quality of Texas education shallowly practical and intellectually narrow. It is true enough thatlarge numbers of people seek a higher education for financial, material reasons. This is bound to be so in a society where education and economic well being are so closely drawn together. But this is far from enough. None of us is just a businessman, engineer, teacher, doctor, lawyer, dentist, artist, musician. We have minds and sensibilities which need nourishment outside and beyond professional training. We lead lives, inner and outer, which are quite apart from our bread-winning. We badly need not to be trapped inside the narrow professional viewpoint so that we can understand ourselves and our society. In some sense we must serve society and court the dollar, but when necessary we must be fit to criticize, to dissent, to withdraw. We must be able, if we wish, to satisfy the inner needs of our own minds, and not for any external profit. To do these things, even imperfectly, we must cultivate those aspects of learning which lead, hopefully, to enlightenment as well as expertise and income. The vision of the governor’s committee, if taken too literally and too seriously, would result in a system of high class trade schools, even in the arts and sciences. There is already
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.