June 4, 2015

"Blogs are buzzing with doom, proclaiming the end of much-coveted tenure and shared governance as Wisconsin knows it."

Says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, linking to one blog — not mine, of course, because I haven't even peeped, and I'm surely not buzzing, even about why I choose not to buzz.

101 comments:

traditionalguy said...

When a wealthy Institution becomes an independent self-governing entity with virtual taxing powers and internal politics of its own that occupy its time there is no reason to teach the hard stuff at all.

Michael K said...

"to terminate or lay off both tenured faculty and indefinite-term staff members"

Laying off administrators should be a high priority, although it may take the end of Obama to get out from under the lunatic rules of Do Ed and DoJ.

Tenure of real professors seems less important although I can think of a few in "Studies" departments who could find honest work.

EDH said...

After reading Herzog's piece, help me get this straight: Is this a "GOP plan"?

tim in vermont said...

you do zero for the broader community

It seems to me what you mean is that she does zero of the things you wish she would do for the broader community, which is probably agitate for left-wing causes.

She writes about constitutional law on a widely read blog that is part of the national discussion. I wonder what your definition of actually doing "something" for the broader community is. That would be enlightening.

tim in vermont said...

At universities across the country, the essence of teaching and learning is the pursuit of truth — following the evidence wherever it leads, said Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

That's the theory. The reality is that there are ideological gatekeepers controlling who gets tenure to ensure that the evidence is only followed in pre-approved directions.

If universities ensured an ideologically diverse faculty, I am betting that tenure would have more support among the electorate. As it is, it serves as a protective rock for leftie faculty to hide under.

"What is the opposite of diversity? University" - Kate at SmallDeadAnimals.

Michael McClain said...

Old and cherished rice bowls are being shattered. Good.

Bob Ellison said...

Yeah, and she lets idiots comment on her blog, for all to read.

tim in vermont, I would not guess (so long as we're guessing) that this buffoon is a left-winger. Idiots come in all colors of the rainbow. Sometimes, as often seen in these-here blog threads, they aren't even identifiable-- is that mauve, or ochre?

MadisonMan said...

In theory, you don't let go productive Professors. In practice, those Professors are likely to be poached if they are unhappy, or if they perceive (Perception means a lot) a hostile work environment.

When you are professor and you bring in multi-year million-dollar+ grants (and many are multi-year -- I have a colleague working on a 9-figure proposal!!), your options are pretty unlimited. This includes even people in Departments any commenter here might find frivolous.

Wisconsin has been top-5 in Research Dollars attracted for 30+ years -- very very few (if any) other institutions can say this. IF the policies of Scott Walker lead to a drop in that standing, that's a HUGE fail on his part. Research at a University drives innovation and start-ups; that's one reason why Dane Co has low unemployment (The State Govt, which is always getting bigger, is another).

TosaGuy said...

Herzog has been copying and pasting for months everything given to her by the powers in the UW system. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel should save some money and cut the middle person.

paminwi said...

Tenure is an idea that has come and should now be gone. The idea that you should just be able to keep a job and really do nothing more than researching, reading and writing to "be published" is really old school. It is one of the many reasons higher education is so expensive. When you have that idiotic Blank woman saying that her way to get certain faculty here is to promise them they will never have to teach is just ludicrous.

Education overall, from K-12 to universities is a lot of teachers bitching about how much they have to work. Wouldn't we all love to have jobs that give you Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break and summer off along with short days/off days for planning, teacher conventions, report card prep. Continuing education credits is something the K-12 gang complain about. "We have to take classes to keep our licensure current". Well, other professions have to do that to. And guess what, they don't get time off during the summer to do that. They have to use their regular vacation to accomplish that goal.

Have you ever really looked at a teachers salary in comparison to someone who works a regular FT job of 2080 hours a year. Regular contract days are around 184-186 days per year. Even at 9 hours per day it still comes out to less than 1700 hours per year. And oh yeah, I don't want to hear about "overtime" they put in. Many, many professionals put in overtime that they never get paid for. And that is what teachers want to be called, right?

I could go on and on but I am truly tired of teachers at any level bitching about how bad they have it. Don't like it, quit, get a job somewhere else and move on.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Looking forward to the end of tenure. Dreams of schadenfreudes to come.

garage mahal said...

The Board of Regents is stacked with Walker cronies and children of wealthy Walker donors. I'm sure everything will be fine. Just keep your head down and don't say anything remotely controversial.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Once written, twice... said...

...and you do zero for the broader community.

As a member of the broader community ( I live in NH ) I appreciate what the Professor does.

PB said...

The public educational system is ripe for disruption because it's failing to educate a large number of people and government subsidies are only resulting in increasing prices, not lowering them. If you don't lead in changing your own organization to keep up with the times, someone else will come along and do it for you. In the second case, you might not like the results and will be out of a job. Change or die.

PB said...

I appreciate what the professor does. She mixes discussion of legal topics of the day that a lot of non-legal types can understand with other things in the news.

Michael K said...

"Just keep your head down and don't say anything remotely controversial."

Yeah, ask Laura Kipnis about that.

She is a lefty professor in a non-STEM subject who strayed off the plantation.

Pardon me while I enjoy her discomfort.

Ann Althouse said...

Tim is responding to a comment that I deleted because it was insulting in a personal way.

Ann Althouse said...

I think the professors who are most afraid are the ones in programs that seem to be about left-wing ideology. If the Regents are conservatives and they have the power to let tenured professors go if the whole program is terminated, then these people really do legitimately feel threatened.

I have no personal stake in this, actually. I don't think the law school would be terminated. It's traditional and it trains students to enter valuable careers. And I can retire whenever I want. I'll be 65 next January.

So I am concerned for others -- for everyone who works or may in the future work for the university and for all of the students and future students and for all of the citizens of Wisconsin, including those who may want to send their children to college in the University System and those who pay the taxes. I'm not capable of analyzing all of that off the top of my head, not that I trust the legislature to do the right thing. I'm not interested in spouting off.

lgv said...

"You have not published in years. You have not none much in the way of serving the university community and you do zero for the broader community."

Call me crazy, but when I was in college a long time ago, I (and most of fellow students) couldn't care less about what you just wrote. Only the professors cared about publishing (so they could get tenure) and getting grant money. What students cared about was the quality of instruction. There was a great disconnect between tenured professors and quality instruction. We seemed to learn the most from non-tenured assistant professors, who may or may not have ever gotten published (and then perished). Was I alone thinking this? This wasn't Wisconsin, but it was another Big Ten school.

I grew up in New York where high school teachers had tenure. We had so many bad teachers that couldn't be fired, it was ridiculous. My trig teacher was an alcoholic. When he was sober, the DTs were so bad he couldn't write legibly on the board.

As someone who once went to high school and college, I can't imagine why anyone would be pro tenure unless they had a vested interest in supporting the education system as is.



harrogate said...

The attack on shared governance is arguably even more dangerous to a healthy higher education system than is the attack on tenure. If faculty are not writing curriculum, for example, then the university system truly gets Wal-Marted.

lgv said...

I was hoping this comment thread would be buzzing about why AA was not buzzing about the tenure issue.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

garage mahal said...
The Board of Regents is stacked with Walker cronies and children of wealthy Walker donors. I'm sure everything will be fine. Just keep your head down and don't say anything remotely controversial.


You left off 'Governor', in front of 'Walker'.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The only thing I have against tenure is it's awarded to only some and not to all.

TosaGuy said...

Which task by a university professor advances the public knowledge more? An excruciatingly detailed and boring book that no one will ever read or a public blog that while covering a variety of events also heightens interest in the general public about law and legal issues?

I always questioned my graduate school friends who are now academic professors with PhDs in the history field....why are all the best-selling history books written by journalists and not historians?

tim in vermont said...

Grant money given to "study" frivolous things is still money wasted and still wasted resources a university could have put to better use, such as teaching students marketable skills and instilling a genuine capacity for critical thinking.

Many of these "frivolous" departments teach students "what to think" and not "how to think" and so are negative drags on society as a whole, however much money they bring in. It's like calculating into the GDP the efforts of termites.

Michael K said...

"even more dangerous to a healthy higher education system"

Yes, if we only had one. The one I attended 60 years ago was pretty healthy. I was an English major at one time and we actually studied English literature, for example.

garage mahal said...

"Second, there’s the far more worrisome Section 39, which addresses the other way in which tenured faculty can lose their jobs: termination of their position or layoff in the event of a bona fide financial emergency. Section 39 strikes the language “when a financial emergency exists” from current law and replaces it with the alarmingly vague standard “deemed necessary due to a budget or program decision regarding program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection” Link

Remember Bill Cronon?

Fabi said...

What a strange world inhabited by Garage and a few others around here. People get fired and laid off every day for myriad reasons. Hate to break it to you: university administrators and professors aren't special in any way. If they're value added, they have little to fear; if they're not, they should be on their way out. Just like in the real world.

Mark said...

MadisonMan speaks truth here, everyone ignores his post.

Gabriel said...

The commenters slagging professors for research are unaware that research pays for teaching, not the other way around.

For every hour a professor spend on research, the university does not pay that professor's salary (the grant does). Furthermore, the university took 50% of the grant off the top. With that money they can more than afford to hire more instructional staff to cover the time spent on research, and still have plenty left to blow on administrators and football.

STEM research subsidizes teaching both in STEM and non-STEM disciplines. Universities do not exist only to teach and never have.

garage mahal said...

If they're value added, they have little to fear; if they're not, they should be on their way out. Just like in the real world.

Don't write blog posts about ALEC, and such. Convert to their religion or die.

AReasonableMan said...

The decline of Wisconsin universities only helps the relative competitiveness of my local university. Go Walker.

Gabriel said...

Furthermore research is part of what a university teaches. Those who go on to scientific careers learn how to do research by being engaged in active research programs, because research is an apprenticeship, it's not something you get in classes.

In my own field our classes could only take us up to about 1960. After that there's too much to know to cover any reasonable fraction of it, and so at that point you have to specialize and work in an active subfield to get current in that subfield.

MikeR said...

@MadisonMan "Research at a University drives innovation and start-ups; that's one reason why Dane Co has low unemployment". Interesting point; thank you. But: So do the Gender Studies departments drive innovation and start-ups? Maybe we can all agree that the awesome system of crony capitalism that you're describing: govt --> prestigious univ --> all kinds of good things in the state, should only apply to the STEM departments?

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, have you ever met professors whose research petered out after they got tenure? I have.

Gabriel said...

@ARM:The decline of Wisconsin universities only helps the relative competitiveness of my local university. Go Walker.

There is no productive research professor who will be harmed; a university has to give up all the extra money that professor brings in.

The professors who are in danger are those who do little but teach. They can be replaced by academic staff, saving the university a lot of money, not to mention possibly improving the quality of teaching since you can get rid of academic staff much more easily.

These trends are affecting higher education nationwide; if your local university doesn't follow suit, it will be outcompeted by those who got their first.

garage mahal said...

The decline of Wisconsin universities only helps the relative competitiveness of my local university. Go Walker.

Faculty is already being poached. They want to make the UW System a giant tech college churning out worker drones. Problem is there are no jobs, but that's a different story.

Sebastian said...

"STEM research subsidizes teaching both in STEM and non-STEM disciplines"

Apologies for OT issue, but my impression is that STEM research is itself subsidized by institutions, even taking grants into account. Perhaps UW is different, but I'd want to see a careful accounting. Commonsensically, high-enrollment, low-cost infrastructure fields (Poli Sci?) would seem to be the bigger money-makers.

"Research at a University drives innovation and start-ups"

Some research in some departments and perhaps a medical school here or there. But much "research," however clever and intrinsically valuable, is useless to students and the general public.

It is still useful as status marker within academia and also, thus far, in ranking institutions. Research drives prestige hierarchy, which is very valuable to many parties in the game.

TosaGuy said...

I doubt tenure will ever go away, but currently universities are ditching tenure-track positions as quick as they can. If three tenured oldsters in a department retire, they will replace two with tenure-track and the other with adjuncts or instructor positions.

Modifications to tenure may actually preserve more of those positions and prod reform in how adjuncts are used.

If you ever want to see a lefty flip flop violently on an issue is have them work as an adjunct for awhile -- hating the concept of tenure with every fiber of their being -- then once getting a tenure-tract position switching to the position that we would as a society return intellectually to the dark ages without it.

TosaGuy said...


Tenure didn't protect a whole university robotics department from getting poached.

Fabi said...

@Garage: Huh?

Gabriel said...

@Sebastian: but my impression is that STEM research is itself subsidized by institutions, even taking grants into account.

No, research is net income. Universities provide start-up funds to new faculty, and provide very limited research funding thereafter, faculty are expected to find their own money from other sources. For the UW system you can find some information here:

Annual Budget: $6 billion
State Funding: $1.2 billion
Gifts, Grants and Contracts: $1.5 billion

trumpetdaddy said...

TosaGuy is correct. I have a very good friend who teaches at the University of Cincinnati and he was never susceptible to the AAUP pitches until he finally got tenure last year. Now, he's as much in favor of the union label as any UAW shop steward ever was. Amazing how that "job security" changes one's publicly stated views on things.

My own alma mater, Miami University, has never fallen for the AAUP siren song. Among other reasons, that is why she has remained a top-ranked national undergraduate education university.

Gabriel said...

@Sebastian: Perhaps UW is different, but I'd want to see a careful accounting.

The best I could do is find the UW system factbook, which only barely supports what I said. :)

According to their breakdown, the University spend $877,678,162 on research and collected $894,678,162 for it, which is a net positive of $16,970,070.

The entire instructional budget (which is only about 25% of the total system budget, btw) is $1,150,505,379, so that research profit is subsidizing $0.015 out of every dollar spent on instruction.

So in the case of the UW System, which of course is carrying a lot of small and obscure institutions with little serious research (I used to teach at one) research is producing a very small profit, which of course is better than a loss.

The breakdown for UW-Madison would be more comparable to the state of things nationwide.

Owen said...

Great comments. Huge multi-dimensional issue. My take is there are two main constituencies for a research-based institution: teaching undergrads and doing new (often paying) work that advances our understanding and "mastery" of a field. The former constituency is served best by good teachers. The latter by good researchers. They are often not the same. The task of the management is to find and sustain the best talent for each. If researchers can pay their way they will be kept. And if teachers are effective they too will be kept.

Thus for established talent --teaching or research-- tenure is not much needed. And for new or emerging talent it is by definition premature. For them, probationary periods are appropriate and in any competent organization they already exist.

As a philosophical matter I favor competition so would want less tenure, but I believe the politics of academia are so poisonous (and currently so biased toward faculty-lounge Marxism and victimology) that I throw up my hands. A plague on all their houses. The current system is unsustainable and I just look forward with great interest to the Big Re-Set.

Dr.D said...

"At universities across the country, the essence of teaching and learning is the pursuit of truth — following the evidence wherever it leads, said Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities."

Ah, wouldn't it be wonderful if it were true? But it is a lie, a very black lie. The thing that matters, in the UW-system and practically every other university system across the country, is the pursuit of external funding and internal power. This is the game, and actual teaching, doing the job can result in punishment through the denial of tenure. This is especially true if you make some lazy slob (fellow faculty member) look bad, just because you are doing the job while he is not, but he already has tenure.

The total elimination of tenure is a wonderful thing, and it would eliminate a lot of dead wood on the UW faculty.

Bring it on!!

TosaGuy said...

Can the crying wolf crowd also state that the sky is falling?

Dr.D said...

When I was in school (back before the Ice Age), regarding tenure, my adviser said, "Anyone that makes it that difficult to get tenure has no right to expect anyone to do anything at all after receiving it," and he did not.

garage mahal said...

Another question is why Republicans are meddling into the UW in a budget bill, of all places. This of course after giving themselves tenure through gerrymandering.

Sebastian said...

Still OT: Thanks, Gabriel. Helpful information. Don't mean to derail this thread, but wonder if research expenditures include salaries of STEM faculty. (I'd also be interested in overall costs/revenues by field, taking into account net tuition income.) No need to reply her -- topic for another day!

Curious George said...

"Tenure is protection that ensures faculty will not be punished for doing their jobs," he said. "The truth can be extremely unpopular politically, commercially and economically. Would you want to be a climate change scientist without protection from consequences directly related to the expression of your views?"

LOL That asshole Michael Mann LIED about his findings and Penn State protected him. No, protection is not needed, unless you would be a "denier."

MadisonMan said...

have you ever met professors whose research petered out after they got tenure? I have.

I'm not althouse, but I have met some like that as well. But in my STEM-y field, at least, that's not the norm. It would be an interesting graph, though, for each department to put on the internets: This is how much money each Professor brings in per year (How does it change with time?). They'll not do that, though, since it would put bulls-eyes on some Professors.

MadisonMan said...

but wonder if research expenditures include salaries of STEM faculty

Yes. Typically Summer salaries, depending on the field, and on how much they teach.

Anonymous said...

@Gabriel: you seem to conflate "research" with "adding wealth or useful knowledge to the economy".

Yet how many "Gender Studies" or Sociology grants produce anything at all?

For the people engaged in that kind of useless research, their funding is no different from getting a fat welfare check.

Original Mike said...

"have you ever met professors whose research petered out after they got tenure? I have."

Unusual in a STEM field. You don't get grants, then you don't get students and you don't get research space.

Peter said...

It's not UW, but it seems John McAdams learned just how much protection tenure actually provides. (Although I wouldn't be surprised if he got a fat financial settlement, Marquette did get him off campus.)

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/stripping-a-professor-of-tenure-over-a-blog-post/385280/

machine said...

Small government?!?! Ha.

Gabriel said...

@jelink:Yet how many "Gender Studies" or Sociology grants produce anything at all?

This is why they get very little in grants compared to STEM. These are the people who are most in need of tenure protections, because the institution's self-interest protects them most weakly.

The exceptions are those who are quasi-celebrities like Cornell West or Camille Paglia.

Seeing Red said...

Common Core is more about tech and reading tech manuals so we are prepared for the future, GM, so why should WI be any different?

Gabriel said...

@jelink: The small amount of research funding for the humanities is one reason so many humanities graduate students have to be teaching assistants and have high teaching loads, or else pay for grad school themselves.

STEM graduate students almost always become research assistants, because their tuition and stipends get paid out of the grants. The few who don't become TAs for the giant introductory STEM lecture classes, which put so many butts in seats (and tuition checks in the bank) that they can afford a few TAs.

Very, very few STEM grad students pay for graduate school and they rarely have to teach after their second or third year, which makes some of the humanities grad students bitter.

tim in vermont said...

They want to make the UW System a giant tech college churning out worker drones. Problem is there are no jobs, but that's a different story. - garage

Your just bitter because the jobs for lefty internet trolls is not the highest paying. There are plenty of jobs for well educated people. There is just not a huge market for indoctrinated lefties who only skill is their political indoctrination.

I know this because I know three millennial sociology majors recently graduated who are happy to point out as many political errors as you wish to make! All "underemployed" in this "lousy job market."

garage mahal said...

Your just bitter because the jobs for lefty internet trolls is not the highest paying. There are plenty of jobs for well educated people.

Trust me, I'm fine. I'm fortunate that I don't depend on Wisconsin. And I'm glad I don't have to work for these two-bit fascists in this god-forsaken state.

Krumhorn said...

Tenure, at all levels, has got to go. There is no good argument that can sustain it. At the large state university where I have experience as an adjunct, the tenured fucks do precisely as they please. The dean of the various colleges have virtually no authority over them. And worse, there are no repercussions for failing to perform in class in accordance with department requirements.

The only way to get a tenured fuck to work on a committee is to provide 'extra pay', and they make certain that their time on campus is limited to two days a week if at all possible.

The result of shared governance is chaos. Nobody in private enterprise would survive for long if they behaved as the tenured fucks behave in staff meetings (when they bother to show up).

It's time to burn the place down, rebuild, and get back to basics.

- Krumhorn

buwaya said...

What makes a good university ? At least for undergraduates ?
It seems to be the same things that make a good K-12 school.
As far as I can tell, it has little or nothing to do with the faculty.
It has something to do with facilities, at least for some engineering and scientific disciplines.
But mostly it has to do with the students.
If the admissions process selects for the intelligent and creative, this is nearly everything.

There is little or nothing to choose between good US universities and good foreign universities, but US ones cost a great deal more, to the state or to the students/parents. It doesn't seem that these excess costs buy much of genuine value, to the students or the state.

If Wisconsin were, for instance, to subcontract its state university system to U of Ontario and pay the standard Canadian education costs plus room and board, the state, or the students, would probably save @ $5,000 per student per annum.

Original Mike said...

"and they make certain that their time on campus is limited to two days a week if at all possible."

I was giving your post some credence until I got to this. Where do they spend the rest of their time?

Mark said...

'Burn the place down'

Typical Right Wing solution. Destroy something to fix it, even the parts that are functional and likely to be lost in destruction.

Who cares if we lose our top 20 researchers and their massive grants? Why would we want to be a world class institution? Why would our state want any respected science program in its borders? Everyone knows the economic future of Wisconsin is in the tourist jobs at the Dell's ...

MadisonMan said...

@Original Mike, exactly.

I suspect Krumhorn's attitude is precisely why he'd (she'd?) never get tenure, or even hired as tenure-track.

Dad always likened Tenure Approval as akin to adoption.

buwaya said...

"Typical Right Wing solution. Destroy something to fix it, even the parts that are functional and likely to be lost in destruction. "

Why assume that the parts that are functional must or will be destroyed ?
Can nothing be reformed without total destruction ?
This seems a rather un-nuanced point of view.

buwaya said...

And for that matter, are the foreign universities that provide more, or as much, for less, run by "right wingers", or are their significantly socialistic governments (by US standards) "right wing" ?

This conflict is rather over matters that do not easily map into ideological categories, and that its ideological nature in the US is entirely due to circumstances. That is, it mainly affects the personal interests of an ideologically aligned subculture.

garage mahal said...

Everyone knows the economic future of Wisconsin is in the tourist jobs at the Dell's ...

"While pulling in $1.1 billion in research funding annually, he pointed out, UW-Madison has fostered new patents, attracted private investment, spun off multiple start-up companies, and helped Madison recruit offices for the likes of life-sciences innovator Illumina, Swiss health care group Roche, California software developer Zendesk and technology giant Google." Link

They know full well they are destroying the UW, and by extension, Madison. The city they despise and are so jealous of. The UW is one of the few good things left that Wisconsin has going for it. GOP SMASH.

buwaya said...

"While pulling in $1.1 billion in research funding annually, he pointed out, UW-Madison has fostered new patents, attracted private investment, spun off multiple start-up companies, and helped Madison recruit offices for the likes of life-sciences innovator Illumina, Swiss health care group Roche, California software developer Zendesk and technology giant Google."

Why cant this continue ? I don't see anything in these proposals that would impede such public-private partnerships.

Original Mike said...

"Dad always likened Tenure Approval as akin to adoption."

Campus committee and the dean were easy. It was the department level review that kept me awake nights.

garage mahal said...

I wish Dane County could secede from the rest of this ignorant state. They need us, we don't need them for a damn thing.

Spooner School District is praying to God for help from the budget cuts. Um, too late for that guys! Your money has already been sent to voucher schools hundreds of miles away.

buwaya said...

"While pulling in $1.1 billion in research funding annually, he pointed out, UW-Madison has fostered new patents, attracted private investment, spun off multiple start-up companies, and helped Madison recruit offices for the likes of life-sciences innovator Illumina, Swiss health care group Roche, California software developer Zendesk and technology giant Google."

And, btw, it is exactly these matters that attract ideological complaints from the rest of the faculty.
At UC these sort of things are deplored by the bulk of the faculty.

buwaya said...

Garage,

Do you have an answer to my question above ?

Rusty said...

buwaya said...
"While pulling in $1.1 billion in research funding annually, he pointed out, UW-Madison has fostered new patents, attracted private investment, spun off multiple start-up companies, and helped Madison recruit offices for the likes of life-sciences innovator Illumina, Swiss health care group Roche, California software developer Zendesk and technology giant Google."


These are the people whos jobs are secure.
So the state throws the tenure question back at the university and out of the State House. Right where it belongs. I bet the "studies" bunch is nervous.

Brando said...

The main point of tenure--preserving academic freedom--could be better served by the institution putting in its employment contracts that no professor could be terminated for expressing academic freedom. Granted, the hard part will be arguing over whether someone was incompetent or just expressing academic freedom, but it's still preferable to a system that protects an elite few professors from any accountability whatsoever, while the vast majority have no job security at all.

Seeing Red said...

Why is Spooner special? Is Wisconsin lalaland? We've had budget cuts and added fees for years. Start fundraising. Make a donation, help out.

Seeing Red said...

No GM, you just work for the big fascist 4-1/2 months out of the year, unless you don't pay your fair share?

garage mahal said...

Start fundraising. Make a donation, help out.

Or, ask Walker and Republicans to give the money back they stole from these districts and gave to parasitic voucher school grifters.

Fabi said...

'...parasitic voucher school grifters.'

Hahaha!! Totally delusional. And bitter.

Owen said...

I think there is a lot of cognitive dissonance in universities which are always hungry for corporate funding of research (with that sweet, sweet 50% markup) but demanding transparency and no conflict of interest even from the second cousin of a researcher's dog. Another cognitive dissonance arises from Tech Transfer offices which try to take patents on every last aspect of what the faculty even imagines it has done, and then sues others for infringement. See for amusing example the U of Rochester and COX-2.

Please don't ever try to tell me that universities are temples of learning and knowledge. They're a business, largely captured by nasty mediocrities.

garage mahal said...

Even Walker Country is feeling the pain.

"Public schools would see their aid reduced to pay for the students attending the private schools, even if a student living in the district was already attending a private school and switched to using a taxpayer subsidized voucher to attend the school.

"This does not make sense," Deklotz said."

Haha. Chickens coming home to roost. Idiots.

richard mcenroe said...

Garage Mahal: Trust me, I'm fine. I'm fortunate that I don't depend on Wisconsin.

He's on federal Social Security. Probably SSI disability, too.

MadisonMan said...

From garage's article:

"School districts need to learn how to compete and hold down their costs for taxpayers," Brown added, noting that the cost of a voucher per pupil is less than the total amount the state spends to educate the average public school student.

Now, if the students who left Public Schools were the ones who cost average or below costs, Vouchers might be worthwhile to support. But the high-needs ones are those who are left behind. Result: People can claim that Public Schools spend more per pupil.

Not all pupils are the same. And Federal/State laws require that schools do costly things -- without providing funds.

buwaya said...

It seems that as of this year there is a 1000 student cap on the state voucher program, so any funding of that program, out of 850,000+, as of this year, is trivial in context of overall public schools expenditures.

buwaya said...

Many of the services provided to high needs students in public schools are very expensive to provide mainly because they require compliance with state and federal rules that public schools are obliged to follow as a condition of their funding, but private schools are not so constrained and can make these accommodations more cheaply.

Among others, a big one is that private schools are free to track, and are not required to integrate high needs students into regular classrooms with separate, personalized instruction.

There is issue after issue in all this where private schools (and charters, for the most part) can provide all sorts of instruction more efficiently.

Taking a larger view, the real problem is that public schools suffer from an unworkable, unresolvable mess of regulation, funding, oversight, compliance requirements, mandates, legal decisions, legal risks, and general politics. This produces a costly system, where too little is devoted to the effective "business end" of instruction.

Compare US public education to Canada, for instance. It really cant be said that the US delivers better K-12 education than Canada, to any subset of students. Yet Canada manages to do this by spending @20% less.

So how to untangle the Gordian knot of US public education ? It cant happen by legislative teasing out of thousands of tiny strands, all interlocked and attached to interest groups. The Alexandrian sword-cut is the only real option, which is the equivalent, in this case, of moving large numbers of children to charter and voucher schools.

Original Mike said...

"So how to untangle the Gordian knot of US public education ? It cant happen by legislative teasing out of thousands of tiny strands, all interlocked and attached to interest groups. The Alexandrian sword-cut is the only real option, which is the equivalent, in this case, of moving large numbers of children to charter and voucher schools."

Well put. This is where I come down on this issue. We need a competing system in which the variable that matters (which I also believe is burdensome regulation) is at play. If that system succeeds, then we have the evidence necessary to support change that succeeds.

James Pawlak said...


As far as I can determine, the University of Wisconsin has been (Since 1848) built and largely maintained by all of he People of our State through many millions of their hard-earned tax-dollars. The tuition-and-fees paid by students
(And their families/creditors) does NOT cover the costs of that school.

The "Governance" of that school should be democratically under the control of all of the People without regard to employment-by or enrollment-in UW! [The best way to do that is to have the Regents directly-and-democratically elected by our fellow citizens (eg Two/three from each Congressional District to meet judicial requirement for "equal representation)]. Certainly, faculty have no right to any, anti-democracy, greater power to directly/indirectly govern UW!

I also offer the following-and-alternative definition: "TENURE: A system to protect faculty: Who are no longer productive so as to allow them an "early retirement"; Who inflict their (90%+ left-wing) political views on students even in classes which are not concerned with such matters; And, their use of time and power to insure that such political-orientation and lack-of-productivity continue in their schools."

garage mahal said...

"We need a competing system in which the variable that matters (which I also believe is burdensome regulation) is at play"


"I'm not a trained principal, so my approach has been more of a business and leadership approach," he says. "I don't know much about academics, so I'm on a crash course, relying on the teachers in the building.

"Everybody here is way below the poverty level," he adds, as we peer into a classroom where four-year-old kindergarteners are lying down for a nap on the dirty indoor/outdoor carpeting. A teacher snaps out the lights.

Despite the dirty carpet and peeling walls, and a first-floor bathroom with no toilet paper, no paper towels, and heavy scribbling in the stalls and over the sink, Pastor Claudio is proud of how much better things look here since school started in September, after a major cleanup. Last fall, he tells us, the lights didn't work.

This building has flipped through several voucher schools. The last resident was BEAM Academy, an Edison charter school. "Edison" plastic tags still adorn some of the classroom doors. Another Academy of Excellence school, on the south side, is in even worse shape, the pastor tells us.

There are three Academy of Excellence schools in Milwaukee, run by the Association of Vineyard Churches, a conservative, evangelical sect.

Every morning, Pastor Claudio leads the school in a daily devotional.

"We use the Bob Jones University curriculum," he says."
Link

Rusty said...

garage mahal said...

And you never asked yourself the obvious question?
Of course not. Look who I'm asking.

AReasonableMan said...

UW is one of the best universities in the country, no small achievement. Much of the rest of the state is a basket case. Why is it a priority to 'fix' UW?

lb said...

St. Marcus School in Milwaukee is working with the same population as the Beam and Edison Academy's mentioned above - and has a huge wait list which they do by lottery. Free market at work - Edison didn't work - so it closed. I would venture that the picture mentioned by Garage above is not much different than the majority of MPS schools - the non-charter kind. It's a tough subject - but I think it's clear the MPS system is not workable so better to at least give some of those kids a chance at something different.

Fen said...

The idea that you should just be able to keep a job and really do nothing more than researching, reading and writing to "be published" is really old school

Tenure was originally emplaced to protect the free speech rights of communists.

I'll start caring about the university system again once the Marxists decide "diversity" includes conservative teachers too.

Fen said...

I think the professors who are most afraid are the ones in programs that seem to be about left-wing ideology. If the Regents are conservatives and they have the power to let tenured professors go if the whole program is terminated, then these people really do legitimately feel threatened.

They should feel threatened. They aren't educators, they are indoctrinators of Marxist crap. Fire them all, lace with garlic, salt the earth and then nuke the site from orbit just to be sure.

Mountain Maven said...

The only thing the public and most of the private universities can do for an undergraduate is trade school in STEM or business. (and a few other vocations) Anything non-technical is ideological lies and brainwashing. Took me 10 years to reeducate myself + expensive graduate trade school type degree to get a job. My kid is studying STEM at State with the bare minimum of liberal arts and social studies BS needed to graduate.
At least abolishing tenure will weed out some of the drunks and layabouts on the faculty.

Ann is depriving us of the cruel neutrality of her insight. Doesn't want to alienate her conservative following or her marxist neighbors?

Mountain Maven said...

My kid is only at State because we couldn't find a conservative private university that offers his major.

Original Mike said...

"As far as I can determine, the University of Wisconsin has been (Since 1848) built and largely maintained by all of he People of our State through many millions of their hard-earned tax-dollars. The tuition-and-fees paid by students
(And their families/creditors) does NOT cover the costs of that school."


The tax-dollars of The People of the State does NOT cover the costs of that school, either. Not even close.

garage mahal said...

Why is it a priority to 'fix' UW?

Republicans want to destroy the UW because they despise Madison and the university, and they want to get rid of faculty they don't like. It's that simple. Might as well bring Madison down the shitter with the rest of the state.

Krumhorn said...

"and they make certain that their time on campus is limited to two days a week if at all possible."

I was giving your post some credence until I got to this. Where do they spend the rest of their time?

*********

Where do you think? They make certain that their classes are limited to two days a week along with their required office hours to the extent possible. The rest of the week, they do what they please...where they please.

I have absolutely no interest in a tenured position. I have a nice practice that I have no intention of trading for a university salary.

- Krumhorn

Eli Blake said...

Whatever.

Many years ago I felt an employer was imposing an undue work requirement so I voted with my feet and went elsewhere.

I'm sure there are many well qualified Wisconsin faculty members who if tenure is revoked (or effectively revoked) will go to institutions in states where they are valued.