Post Academic

How Pending Legislation Can Affect Colleges

Posted in The Education Industry by doctoreclair on July 26, 2010
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My rough impression is that education in the United States has not been much of a political priority for the last few decades. Much of the little debate that does take place is dictated by the libertarians, who have been more active than the left on this issue. It seems that the most powerful new idea brought to these debates has been, lamentably enough, the privatization of education. To call the right’s agenda privatization is only part of the story, though, since capitalism has been accompanied by its usual paradoxical bedfellow, statism. (In his histories of the rise of capitalism, Perry Anderson keeps coming back to the point that the growth of capital markets depended on the extension of state authority, rather than on democratization. Recent history shows that this process is ongoing, our current weird twins being national testing and charter schools.)

The latest chapter in this history has been the education initiatives currently before Congress. I’ll take a quick look at these, and consider possible implications for higher education.

Congress is dealing with the problem that state budget declines will cause between 100,000 and 300,000 teachers to lose their jobs this year. A first attempt to provide funding, known as “Edujobs,” failed after Republicans and even some Democrats have denounced the proposed funding as “bailout.” (Consider the baffling logic of this attack: If state governments announced that they were having trouble paying for some of the unfunded Homeland Security mandates, and Congress stepped up to fund those mandates, would anyone have dared to call it a bailout?)
More after the jump!