I get a lot of emails on Issue Two in Ohio – thank you vigilant Ohio readers and thank you John Cole for letting us have a turn at the microphone- 35 days to go.
I’m just going to lay this out there, and you may take from it what you will.
Officials of Bowling Green State University played a leading part in writing the section of Senate Bill 5 that bars university professors from collective bargaining, letters and emails exchanged between officials earlier this year and obtained by The Blade appear to show.
The university’s zeal to exclude professors from collective-bargaining eligibility in Ohio came about half a year after the faculty at BGSU voted to be represented in bargaining by the American Association of University Professors union, over the opposition of the college administration.
The bill, which curtails public employees’ rights to bargain in Ohio, is on hold pending a referendum set for Nov. 8
An email appears to show that Sean FitzGerald, BGSU’s general counsel, came up with the language for the section of S.B. 5 that identifies professors as management employees. A Feb. 25 email from the Inter-University council’s vice president of government relations, Mike Suver, attributes the amendment to Mr. FitzGerald.
He said to suggest that the university’s aggressive effort to repeal collective bargaining was retaliation for the BGSU’s vote in October for union representation was a “harsh” accusation. “I don’t agree with that,” Mr. FitzGerald said.
And now we’re getting charter universities, apparently:
Since the arrival of the Kasich administration, Ohioans have come to clearly understand the state leadership’s agenda for change. From reining in collective bargaining with government workers to leasing state assets to taking public initiatives private, the status quo is being vigorously shaken. In that environment, would it be any surprise that a similar drive should also surface in Ohio’s educational sector?
Regents Chancellor Jim Petro got into the act last week when he unveiled his Enterprise University plan, an effort with noble intentions that would be deployed with a carrot and a stick. The program would, in essence, attempt to free state universities from red tape, give them freedom from some burdensome state oversight and allow them greater independence.
“Enterprise University” sounds like it came right out of the Mackinac Center, and my general rule is anyone who feels the need to announce they have “noble intentions” or uses the weasel phrase “in essence” should be immediately confronted with specific questions.
Here’s the other side:
In the past few weeks, Gov. John Kasich, Chancellor Jim Petro, Inter-University Council President Bruce Johnson and several public-university presidents have touted the idea of shifting Ohio’s public university system to a charter university system. They describe the charter-university idea as a simple one: Public universities would receive less money in state subsidies in return for less state government regulation.
This “flexibility” will then lead to cures for all of our higher-education ills. This is not an accurate portrayal of the potentially dramatic and dangerous turn the charter university idea would be for Ohio’s citizens. Rather, it would be another taxpayer-funded privatization scheme that will ultimately hurt Ohio’s students and future economic growth.
If we truly value public education, instead of a publicly-funded, for-profit system that calls itself “public”, I think this bears watching.
this is just another right-wing scam.
another assault on one of the places people use to get the education to put themselves into the middle class.
it’s a SCAM
and thank you for telling me about this.
Kay, did your tax dollars pay for these BGSU officials to lobby against unionization? It seems the falcon has become the falconer.
I don’t see what could possibly go wrong here.
Well, yeah. Mr. BGSU lawyer makes 200k a year. I looked it up. But his job is to lobby. Nothing in that description precludes him lobbying against his colleagues, as here. I just think the timing is interesting, and bears watching.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Shorter Kasich: “I’m giving them a deal! Less regulations and government money!”
The perfect Republican government: free money to their patrons and few strings attached. Nothing unusual here.
For profit universities scare the hell out of me. They are not going to offer anything that doesn’t get you ahead at Goldman Sachs. Goodbye liberal arts. (Which is already happening anyway.)
Guess it all comes down to what we as a society value: Knowledge and understanding, or making a fast buck?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@arguingwithsignposts: Once again, I point to Texas, where they “freed” the universities to make their own tuition cost decisions so the state could pay them less, and the costs jumped dramatically.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Thanks. The proponents are relying on a single school in Maryland. Texas is new to me.
I’ve discovered that if you want to lose all credibility with a Cincinnati teenager, all you have to do is tell them the University of Cincinnati used to be tuition-free — it’s beyond their imagination. But back before UC joined the state university system in the late 1970s, it was sponsored by the city and no tuition was charged. Now UC is at the front of the line to be charterized and lose even more public funding.
It’s very similar to what happened to the City University system in my hometown, New York, which was also free until the financial crunch of the late 1970s led to it to join the New York State univeristy system. Just about everyone I knew in my parents’ generation was able to make the leap from child of struggling immigrants to solidly middle-class professional thanks to the city-sponsored college system. I can only assume UC had a similar influence in building a robust middle-class here in southwest Ohio.
I’m continually amazed/aghast at how much things have deteriorated in my lifetime.
I don’t really understand the thinking that goes ” a race to the bottom state where everyone makes 9 dollars an hour is also a state where more parents can afford tuition”.
Are they making more poor people to “help”? Is that the “noble intention”?
I’ve read a few web sites (well, at least one) that claim that US society and culture peaked in 1970 or so (for some people, not all). Stories like yours help me understand why someone would claim that.
I know a couple of people who are professors at Univ. of Cincinnati. Years ago, they went on strike for a week, I can’t remember the exact details. The higher ups responded by docking them a weeks pay, calculated by assuming that they only work 9 months a year, which is definitely not the case. It was nasty.
The Ohio state university system is one of the best in the country, turning it over to business-types to run at a profit would destroy it, just like Rick Perry is trying to destroy the Texas system.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Shifting tuition burdens has been happening for years, sadly. My undergraduate alma mater was an early adopter of that strategy in the face of declining state support, and my current university has been lobbying the state legislature very hard to have control over undergraduate resident tuition (which is currently set by the legislature) permanently. They haven’t been successful yet, but I’m worried that it’s only a matter of time.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
They did the same in the UK recently and guess what happened. Unis were allowed to charge up to £10,000. Any schools that charge less than £10,000 are viewed as second rate, so pretty much all of them charge the maximum.
I don’t. I think it bears a flamethrower of negative attention from day one, before it can get traction as something that “deserves consideration.” We know from the corporate charter-schools experience that this isn’t a well-intentioned experiment with a new educational model, it’s just another scam to funnel tax dollars into corporate pockets and break unions. It doesn’t even have the fig leaf that charter schools had, of being community-based rather than for-profit corporate “management” at the beginning.
This is an attempt to sell public universities to the
highestmost well-connected bidder. Hammer that from the very beginning.
And when this all blows up in a flood of major expenses and education loan fraud, everybody can be surprised that their state universities became Brown Mackie Devry University of Phoenix….
More and more I’m thinking I’m okay if children grow up and be electricians, plumbers, etc. Not that I had issues with that type of employment, but wanted them to go to 4 yr college and beyond. As things look now tuition will be way out of control, universities are looking to turn into crap especially if they start going ‘for-profit’, and employment is looking like it will continue to suck for decades.
At least there will always be a need for certain services like plumbing, welding, electricians, medical, etc.
As a former NYer, I can back up that accurate but sad assessment of what became of CUNY, which really was the engine that assimilated and created the creative and leadership class of the city back then. Count me as stunned though as a very recent “immigrant” to Cincinnati to hear that UC used to be free and wholly supported by the city. Every common purpose that helped build this country is being dismantled solely for selfish greed. Though there is some fight left – was warmed to see folks out at Findlay Market this week collecting ballot signatures.
Thanks for the updates, Kay – I really appreciate it.
I’m still stunned by the article that Zandar linked to yesterday about Ohio legislators getting bonuses. Do you know anything about what they supposedly get them for, or is it just a scheme to hide how much they’er actually being paid?
I wonder just how this might fit the agenda of the party of white resentment. Somehow, I’ve got a suspicion that financially liberated universities are going to look a lot whiter and a lot more male and a lot wealthier*.
By wealthy, I mean of course those self-sacrificing souls who are forced to endure the living hell of a mere 250 grand in annual income so that David Brooks can create another job at the Applebees salad bar**.
**At least, this seems to be the GOP plan, as touted by Mittens (Kung Fu Pander Edition).
Villago Delenda Est
Of course, this entire thing demonstrates that dogshit like Kaisch have no understanding of what the actual “profit” of a university is. It’s not measured in dollars, which of course confuses insects like Kaisch.
Kaisch and the advocates of this sort of thing are simpleton beancounters who cannot comprehend anything beyond what is presented on a spreadsheet.
I don’t know. Honestly, it doesn’t enrage me, but I think it’s a good political argument, tactic, judging (anecdotally) from what people tell me, so I’m glad they’re using it.
Innovation Ohio (the liberal think tank) is an interesting group. Much more brawlers than convene-a-round-table-think-tankers.
A lot of plain, blunt language and the data to back it up. Maybe they’re the new model.
@Villago Delenda Est:
For Kasich and Cronies INC, this isn’t about helping universities, much less caring about whether they “profit” or not. It’s another link in the chain of assaults on Democratic voting constituencies. The more the GOP can exclude poor or non-white people from education, the more they can turn universities into little enclaves of white privilege – and that in turn will reduce the votes that Democrats can get out of them. Equally, the fewer poor or non-white people get to go to college, the easier it is to maintain a power structure where the elite and the wealthy tend to be white and mostly male.
I can see how this would be problematic, and I think that privatizing public universities is ridiculous on the face of it. I do think something needs to be done, though, even if it’s only adjusting people’s perceptions about what to expect from a public university system. I work at a public university (not in Ohio). The state legislature has cut our budget every year since 2008-9; this year the cut was 15%. The legislature also controls the tuition rates, which have risen, but of course not enough to cover the shortfall. (The university’s budget breaks down into a number of slices, with state appropriations accounting for 42% and tuition/fees for 18%.) Enrollment has risen every year over that time.
The result is as might be expected. Our U.S. News ranking has dropped 30 places (for whatever that’s worth, but it’s visible in increased class sizes, fewer sections, and other areas). We’re making do with less. What’s the solution? I don’t know. Mothball some campuses to maintain quality at others? Reduce expectations across the board? Privatizers will say, “Cut the fat,” but I haven’t actually seen any detailed analysis of what constitutes fat, or even any understanding on their side of what public universities are for.
At my university, any fat that there may have been is gone and they’re cutting muscle and bone now. We’re also bedeviled by the fact that the state raises revenue in a very regressive fashion that’s particularly vulnerable to booms and busts in the economy. Add in the fact that higher education is no longer deemed a public good, and you’ve got a formula for some harsh cuts with only raised tuition to (partially) fill the holes.
I hate to tell you this, but that’s a very low rate in the U.S. Private universities charge about $40,000.
I may be mistaken, but I think the UK unis he’s referring to are the equivalent of public universities here, not private ones.
It’s historically very high for the UK. That’s the key point here. Trend lines.
I think they’re going the charter route to get around the state constitution and the particular university land grants, which come with conditions that depend on democratic (small d) governance.
While I know it can be frustrating to deal with an elected body, I think doing elaborate end runs around electoral accountability is not a good answer.
If the state legislature is broken or corrupted or captured, fix the state legislature, don’t change the entity governed or overseen by the state legislature to “free” it from the corrupted or inept elected body.
Ohio has proved incapable of properly regulating their k-12 charter schools, yet they pour more and more public money into them every year.
To expand that mess to public universities is insane.
The solution is to fight for proper funding, not to concede to the right-wing framing of the issue or hope to go gentle into that good night. The GOP have made it clear that this isn’t something you can achieve a lasting compromise on. They’ll come back for more cuts, more loss of independence, more damage to quality of education. This isn’t about making universities better. It’s about their particular brand of class warfare and promoting the interests of a white male oligarchy.
The intentions are not “noble” at all. The end game is to profitize higher education until the only institutions left standing are those that deal with wealthy “legacy” admissions (i.e., Yale, Harvard, etc,) and ITT Tech/Univ. of Phoenix-style degree mills specializing in majors that dead end at hourly-wage jobs. Universities effectively return to being the sole province of wealthy white male scions.
Oh, I understand trend lines. Our kid’s Canadian friends are all complaining about the $9K/year tuition for university here and he just looks at them and shakes his head. But for THEM, the $9K is high.
And I understand private/public, as well. Last I looked, Rutgers was charging about $15K for instate, but of course they gotta make sure the football program has all the latest and best.
All good points so far.
But what about the “benefit” of less regulation?
Seriously? It’s no benefit at all. It’s like saying: “we’re taking away your food, but from now on you get to decide how hungry you are.”
The state regs are about certifying teachers and many other detailed rules that are not going to get eliminated in one fell swoop, if ever. And most of them are there for a reason. Some aren’t good, to be sure, but they aren’t the kind of “regulations” that such an ideological word conjures up for people who don’t know what’s happening here.
It’s a fucking SCAM. Period.
When wingnuts scream about government spending they really mean they are upset that 100% of the money is not going to them and their favored causes and businesses.
So now we’ll spend as much money as ever but it will go towards helping far fewer people.
A winning strategy for advocates of a plutocracy.
Besides, like Herman Cain says, if you are out of work you are a loser.
@evap: Wait just a minute. John Sharp has just been named Chancellor of Texas A&M. I don’t know if that was to keep him from running for Senate or because Perry has a sentimental attachment to A&M. But Sharp is quality!
It’s been really interesting to follow, because the lines are being drawn tighter and tighter. It isn’t really accurate to portray this as “working class versus other classes”. That’s part of it, but it’s much more than that.
Does the BGSU lawyer who is lobbying against the professors and other teaching staff really believe that he’s not next? Of course he is.
He’s one baby step up the ladder from them, because he’s in “administrative” section and they’re not. Next, they go after him, because he makes 200k a year, and he can be privatized or outsourced, one.
Ultimately, it really is the very top versus everyone else.
That lawyer at the top of the page, Sean FitzGerald, isn’t going to make the cut.
I really don’t understand what all you wankers in Ohio and Wisconsin are whining about. If you want to blame someone blame the voters and blame the firebaggers on the left for constantly complaining the previous 2 years about what a bad job Obama is doing.
If people in Ohio and Wisconsin (yes including Police, Firemen, and teachers many of whom vote Republican all the time) are going to vote these people in or not help to prevent them from getting voted it, the sucks to be them I guess.
I don’t have that much sympathy for any of them when you have an electorate that dumb.
How does that saying go. There’s a few of them. “The only thing worse than evil is apathy”. “Those who knowingly stand and do nothing are just as guilty and the people committing the acts”.
You get the picture….or do you? Here’s a hint. When you are demonstrating in the cold out by the capital building or trying to get a Governor recalled it’s already too late.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Beyond a for profit university isn’t going tolerate free thinking in the staff, think “accreted university degree for creation science” The dream of all those religious scam artists. It’s grifters helping grifters.
Where exactly are the burdensome state regulations in universities? The dining hall? I teach at one of the University of California campuses and there is a shit ton of bureaucracy, but I would not classify it as state regulations. And I have total freedom in the classroom, which is the part of the university that actually matters.
@Loneoak: Agreed. See my post above.
It’s pure fucking bait and switch, and the bait is worthless.
This is what you get for electing a former member of the Bush Crime Syndicate, er, excuse me, “Administration.” Are you happy now?? Please, do NOT vote for any more Rethuglicans, they are not good for your health.
Sock Puppet of the Great Satan
“It’s historically very high for the UK. That’s the key point here. Trend lines.”
Up until the early 1990s, not only was tuition free in the UK, you got a means-tested stipend for your living expenses.
I agree, and I should have included a similar thought. My politically-purple state faces a multibillion dollar budget shortfall, which means it will be a tough fight, but it’s definitely a fight worth having.
Funny how they never want to “deregulate” social behavior…
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Nevgu: Oh, we love to bash on them, too. But that only fixes the past, not the present. While whining about them, what is currently happening has to be stopped.
In a Judiciary Committee hearing on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) used his allotted time to daydream out loud about an era of American history when only male property owners were allowed to vote. King pondered whether we should go back to a similar system of allowing only people with “skin in the game” (i.e. people with jobs) to have that right.
You’ll appreciate this (not about universities specifically but the “cut the fat” fad in general):
“Nothing sets me off like this kind of bullshit economizing. After 10 years of a “jobless recovery” everyone I know who still has a job is doing the work of two or three people. The American work force is the most efficient it ever has been. The ‘fat’ these people want to cut out hasn’t been there for 30 years.
Almost every big management fad of the last 30 years has been ‘lean’ this and ‘efficient’ that. They want to squeeze blood from a turnip. If instead of squeezing their suppliers and workers and soaking their customers, they had concentrated on making reliable products at decent prices and taking care of their suppliers and workers, they would have all the customers they could dream of, because we would still have a middle class that was healthy and ready to buy.
If instead of racing to the bottom with NAFTA, what if we had had a treaty that guaranteed, minimum wage, working condition, education and environmental standards? You’d have an entire hemisphere of customers to sell to. Now, we have a billion or so peasants in North and South America and only a few hundred million people who are in a position to buy anything at all.”
(Credit for righteous rant goes to “77South” on a Sadly, No! thread from last October).
@Chris: Amen. You’d think that modern-day capitalists would remember Henry Ford. As Wikipedia puts it, “Ford’s policy proved, however, that paying people more would enable Ford workers to afford the cars they were producing and be good for the economy.”
Some enterprising political Party or candidate could really leverage that.
They’re actually (now) demeaning work, and workers. That’s hundreds of millions of people, low-wage workers.
King admits these people are “wage earners”, so it isn’t about who works and who doesn’t, it’s about how much they make. Not enough to vote. Wage earners are lazy bums who haven’t earned the franchise.
Talk about your class warfare. Man. That’s something.
I have a friend from a Democratic union family in the Great Lakes that said basically the same thing (in not quite as harsh terms) back when all this public-union-busting in Wisconsin started – basically, what did they expect?
I mention this because of how tiring it gets hearing people lament how Democrats have abandoned the white working class. No, other way around: a MASSIVE fraction of the white working class (including a ton of union voters) chose to abandon the Democrats forty years ago and jump on the Nixon/Reagan bandwagon, for reasons that had nothing to do with economics and everything to do with racial and cultural resentments, because the Dems started paying attention to people who’d historically had it even worse than they had.
And since then, they’ve been an unreliable voting bloc at best: partly because they don’t see the Dems doing much for them, but also often because of those same resentments that drove them to Nixon and Reagan in the first place. There’s not much Dems can do about that.
@Morzer: Yes, it is part an intent to strike at what they consider to be another source of the other party’s support. It is also in part an faith based ideology they really tell themselves they must believe in, that “private” is always better than “public.” But at bottom, it is about channeling (or should I say “firehosing” tax money, pubilc money, into a few private hands.
And whether intended or not, this will accelerate the trend to toward feudalism that set in the United States in 1980.
I think the question is: given what is going to happen, is it really a good idea to deregulate?
Much like during the Iraq war, when corporations such as Halliburton were given huge no-bid contracts at sums that were wildly beyond what reality would dictate, and which were stepped up and up and up as people began to realize the boondoggle – thus allowing the filthy rich to scoop up their billions quickly until the party ended, I think this rush to deregulate education has the same smell. Deregulate while you can, knowing that the game is up when the next politician elected to reign it all in puts forth bills to do so, and shovel that cash into your coffers while you can.
They know the game is up, that people are on to them. At least I hope they are on to them.
I don’t like the charter university business one bit. But it has absolutely nothing to do with charter K-12 schools.
There were two facets to public university funding:
1) The state sets some general rules about how you operate. This includes, for example, limits on the tuition you can charge.
2) The state pays most of the bills, and tuition covers the balance.
What has happened is that the state is paying less and less of the total cost, while insisting on a series of restrictions. These range from nuisances (universities usually can’t pay for alcohol, even for visiting guests) to things that liberals would support (union labor for contracts) to restrictions on things like what you can charge for tuition.
The latter wouldn’t be a big deal, except that the states are providing very little money now. Some “state universities” are paying less than 10 %. Ohio State is around 20% state-funded. Those tuition hikes happened for a reason….
So the charter university bit amounts to trading off fewer state restrictions against the reality of very little public funding. Ohio State won’t be privatized; but it would operate in much the same fashion that nonprofit private universities would. Myself, I prefer the tuition limits and strong state funding to make things affordable. But the current system just isn’t sustainable. And a lot of the regulations really are petty, politically motivated, and not the sort of thing that anyone would mourn losing. (See the alcohol rules above. For a while we were also prohibited from paying tips on restaurant bills, except out of pocket. Etc. etc…)
I heard a bit on my local NPR station about this. According to a Kasich staff member, it’s because that’s what they have to do to keep “good people” working there.
I’d like to hear what Gordon Gee of Ohio State has to say about this charter college idea.
Marc, it’s the exact argument we were given for charter schools.
They’ll be free of regulation by elected leaders and they’ll be non-profit.
Except they aren’t and the for-profit operators have purchaed the statehouse.
The minute the regs are gone the for-profit operators swoop in.