June 11, 2015

"Despite what you've heard, tenure is unchanged."

Explains Christian Schneider in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This piece begins with some funny — funny now — material:
A century ago, the American Association of University Professors issued its famous "declaration of principles" in response to several high-profile faculty firings. These principles, such as insisting that only faculty members may judge one another, were meant to protect academic freedom within university systems.

What immediately followed could be considered the Golden Era of Terrible Research. In 1916, University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor Michael Vincent O'Shea developed a child development theory that said children shouldn't be scolded for having dirty hands and bad table manners, and that 16- and 17-year-old boys shouldn't be allowed to show interest in girls. University progressives were busy working their eugenics theories, which they believed would create a master race if the feebleminded were sterilized.

That same year, UW-Madison medical school professor H.C. Bradley gave a speech in which he extolled the nutritional virtues of cannibalism. Bradley said the "ideal food would be man flesh" and other meats are indigestible when compared with "human steak."
Schneider's key substantive point — which I've blogged already — is that "tenure will be alive and well, it just will be the responsibility of the regents, not state law." This protection at the state level (which goes back only to 1973) is unique in the nation.

Meanwhile, at Talking Points Memo, "Josh Marshall Says Goodbye To One Of America’s Great Public Universities" is the front-page teaser, going to a piece titled "Goodbye, Madison," which NOWHERE mentions that the change is only moving tenure from the state statutory level to the regent level, putting Wisconsin in the same position as everywhere else. This deceptive article is illustrated with a photograph of Governor Scott Walker looking like an idiot who doesn't give a damn.

You know, it was just a year ago that liberals were getting upset about Michigan taking a decision away from the state university's regents and putting it into the state law. If the level at which university decisions are made matters, which way does it matter?

21 comments:

Beldar said...

Josh Marshall has a Ph.D. in American history, but spends most of his time subverting it in my humble opinion.

Rick said...

which way does it matter?

The only reasonable position is the opposite of whatever the Republicans are doing.

You may be tempted to think this is a statement about tenure, but in fact it's a comprehensive theory of governance.

Bobber Fleck said...

Schneider's key substantive point — which I've blogged already — is that "tenure will be alive and well, it just will be the responsibility of the regents, not state law." This protection at the state level (which goes back only to 1973) is unique in the nation.

That message does not fit the narrative. How can they craft an anti-Walker message if they allow the truth to be revealed willy-nilly to the masses?

Gabriel said...

Of course there's one simple consistent rule:

Is the governor Republican? Then any decisions he or she proposes about higher education is wrong.

Is the governor Democrat? Then any decisions he or she proposes about higher education is right.

kcom said...

The corollary: How do you know when a lefty is saying something mindless?

His lips are moving.

Michael K said...

Marshall is all over the Sanders story but, with Walker not so much. Guess why.

Basil said...

Professor, still you feel compared to ask these questions to try to determine the motives of hard core leftist progressives. They are as they have always been, for the state and against personal liberty. Party before country. My question is, what is keeping you from seeing this, it's right in front of your face for years?

Basil said...

Compelled. Darn auto correct.

CWJ said...

"You know, it was just a year ago that liberals were getting upset aboutMichigan taking a decision away from the state university's regents and putting it into the state law. If the level at which university decisions are made matters, which way does it matter?"

Exactly so. Substance doesn't seem to matter near as much as from which side of the aisle the proposal came. Witness our own garage mahal. God please grant me the wisdom to recognize when I make the same mistake.

Sebastian said...

"If the level at which university decisions are made matters, which way does it matter?"

Fake-surprise question, right?

Whichever "level" serves Prog preferences is the right level.

But actually nobody cares about levels or governance or any procedural stuff. People just care about results.

Michael The Magnificent said...

I have had to suffer the lamentations of several teachers, and dozens of leftists, who argue that Governor Walker is evil because they now have to pay a portion towards their retirement, and pay a portion towards their health insurance, and have to pay their union dues directly (though not enough of them do, rendering the unions inviable), and now they aren't necessarily guaranteed employment for life. I've heard these same teachers and leftists complain about President Bush and No Child Left Behind, and having to teach to the test.

("So, what's on the test? Reading, writing, history, arithmetic?" "Yes, all that." "And that's getting in the way of what you'd really like to teach?" "Yes, exactly." )

What I have not heard any of them articulate is, what is it about teachers that makes them so extra special, so deserving, and so entitled relative to all other professions, that teachers are to be treated as a special class of citizen, unique in being entitled to only work 180 days out of the year, retire at the ripe old age of 55, pay nothing towards their health insurance, pay nothing towards their retirement, achieving immunity from being fired for any reason, and be free of all forms of quality control?

The only answer I have gotten thus far is, they have Masters degrees. BFD, lots of people have Masters degrees; Lots of people have Doctorates, too.

And what great sin has Governor Walker committed? He began reducing the privileges and immunities long enjoyed by long-protected class, a sacred cow, to those the rest of us in the real world have lived with all along.

Oh, how I look forward to the wailing, the gnashing of teeth, and the rending of garments when it is proposed, and passed, requiring teachers to teach twelve months out of the year.

Douglas said...

Anne, This is easy. Taking power away from whatever level the Democrats control is bad. Giving power to whatever level the Republicans control is bad. Making sure the Democrats keep control is good. This principle applies to every decision about anything - tenure, foreign policy, taxes, you name it.

Petunia said...

Of course it's unchanged. But facts don't matter to the leftists. All that matters is the narrative.

n.n said...

Progressive liberals do not like change that favors a democratic process or market equitability that regulate establishment of their Church and monopolies. They're very selective about their choices and charity.

Joe said...

In other words, if there is no accountability, many, perhaps most, people will act like dicks.

Big surprise.

chickelit said...

Beldar said...
Josh Marshall has a Ph.D. in American history, but spends most of his time subverting it in my humble opinion.

Josh Marshall has real daddy issues. He revealed as much once on his own blog on the occasion of his father's death, IIRC. There was something irreconcilable.

Peter said...

The bottom line is, you're not even supposed to think about abolishing tenure.

Although I suspect that fifty years from now academic tenure will be regarded as a quaint, mostly absurd feature of an age in which students still put themselves into intolerable debt for a credential of dubious value.

Higher ed. is long overdue for re-invention.

Steve said...

Which way does it matter?

It is a ratchet that only turns left. This is the answer to a lot of difficult questions.

Krumhorn said...

The only direction that matters is the one that leads to the abolition of tenure. Full stop

It's long past time the pointy-headed leftie academics are required to live in the same world as the rest of us.

- Krumhorn

walter said...

Because Walker is Hiiiitler. and...a Kooooccchhh!!!! sucker.
To the degree it "protects academic freedom", it prevents it. They won't protect you till they approve you.

walter said...

(putting aside the standard above average job protections)