Colleges defend humanities amid tight budgets

As states tighten their allocations to public universities, many administrators say they're feeling pressure to defend the worth of humanities.

Like many humanities advocates, Abbey Drane was disheartened but not surprised when Florida’s governor recently said its tax dollars should bolster science and high-tech studies, not “educate more people who can’t get jobs in anthropology.”

Drane, a 21-year-old anthropology major at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has spent years defending her choice to pursue that liberal arts field.

And now, as states tighten their allocations to public universities, many administrators say they’re feeling pressure to defend the worth of humanities, too, and shield the genre from budget cuts.…Read More

Where education reform is heading: From extreme to extremum

If you want to understand where public education reform is heading, look south and east to Florida, where the governor-elect, Rick Scott, is talking about a new funding student formula that is more likely to destroy the public school system than accomplish anything else, says Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post. Scott wants to expand a voucher program that allows low-income and disabled students to use public money to go to private schools to ALL students. Here’s how it would work, according to a preliminary plan: Vouchers, euphemistically termed “education savings accounts,” would be created and the state would deposit public education funds into them for each eligible students. Parents would shop for the school they like–public or private–and help pay for it with 85 percent of the state’s per-student funding figure–which this year is $6,843. State public education money would no longer flow through a public education system. The idea may well be the most radical public education idea any state has ever considered. Once upon a time in America, it may have sounded preposterous not only in concept but in chances of implementation. But the Republicans in Florida, who just tightened their control in the state capital in the last election, are making in clear that they are determined to push for such a system in the state legislature next year. There are legal, constitutional and other hurdles, but in today’s political and education atmosphere, no bad idea is impossible to implement…

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