Thursday, February 18, 2010

Utah considering cutting the 12th grade

Sen. Buttars from Utah has proposed an unorthodox strategy to cut $60 million from the state's current $700m deficit*.

Just take out the 12th grade. Everybody knows that senioritis kicks in, kids skip class, and the last year of college prep ends up being a waste. Utah could cut teachers, roll back funding to schools, and best of all, gain more laborers earlier.

In fact, why not cut high school out completely? Everybody knows that 14 year olds make excellent laborers, not to mention wives. Student achievement and teacher quality haven't made many improvements over the last year, so let's just scrap it.

Hmmm... I'm not buying it, Buttars.

*Note: To put this into perspective, Utah's deficit comes out to a little over $230 per resident. Michigan's deficit comes out to $92 per resident. We get Michigan's problem - a fledgling auto industry based on tradition and not innovation fails and lays off the entire SE corridor of the state. Utah... well, I'll leave it up to you to decide if bleeding the beast has anything to do with their fiscal reality.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Teresa Sullivan to Become UVa President

Former University of Michigan Provost, Teresa A. Sullivan, will become the University of Virginia president (their first female prez!) this August. A great choice for U.Va., but a great loss for Michigan.

Speaking of losses for Michigan, my alma mater's Sociology program seems to be coming up dry on their recruitment efforts this year. In the last few weeks, two candidates have declined, choosing positions at relatively similar schools. Are they getting better deals somewhere else, or is Michigan doing something unflattering to its (phenomenal) program?

This news, combined with at least half a dozen declines since 2008, plus Michael Kennedy's move to Brown last year, is stirring up a bit of unrest in those of us who have a vested interest in preserving the reputation of our school.

Here's a related report from the American Sociological Association on boosting recruitment efforts to attract the best faculty.