18 April 2008

From Blog To Print...

My recent rant/post on Kentucky's "Tragic Sinkhole" of low expectations was reprinted in this week's Business Lexington. I'm pleased they did so, but I want to make one clarification that I'm not convinced translated well into print - citations.

Readers of blogs understand that citations to other sources are made in the form of hyperlinks and "blockquote" format for the quoted text. That's what I did in my blog post. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate well into print.

So to be clear, the quotes from my original post came from the Lexington Herald Leader's PolWatchers blog. The commentary is mine, the reporting is theirs. I apologize for any confusion this might cause.


Anonymous said...

David -

I was a research professor/scholar at UK and finished my Masters there (I even wrote a paper on higher-ed rankings while there.) Also, my wife is an outstanding - as in "world class" - professor at UK, so I am not against educational institutions or UK especially.

But let me offer a couple of thoughts after your piece on education.

First, you said UK has "at least 55 public universities ahead of it." Jill Laster of Kentucky Kernel reported last August that UK fell from #54 to #61 on the US News ranking among public universities. That makes 60 institutions ahead of UK, and I trust her numbers more because UK PR would surely correct those if they were off.

Overall, in the last six years UK lost at least ten spots on the overall national ranking board. Few know it, and those who know prefer to hide it from the rest.

But still fewer people know that even in the "good budget" years, UK's much-embellished "momentum" has been trending down, and not because of the lack of funding - there are less funded universities that do much better. Something else is in play, most likely the low morale and thus the low creativity within the feudal system of the University. A nationally-prominent UK professor who specializes in higher education, blamed UK administration for it, telling me: "They wouldn't know what 'excellence' is if they stared at it." I tend to agree.

Second, educational establishments are to education like concert hall administrators to music - useful but not crucial.

From my perspective, Kentucky is sinking billions into buildings, ever-multiplying executives, tenured mediocre professors and "pro-education" PR much faster than it finds itself capable to see what education really is, how it can help and how it can be achieved cheaper and quicker (trust me, that is very possible.)

So many in the state - including very smart people - confuse education with production of diplomas that it's not funny anymore. Somehow they forget that education is capability of mind while diploma is a piece of paper.

The reality is that decades of feeding the insatiable appetite of educational bureaucracies in Kentucky hasn't produced what the state actually needs. And, in my view, all it needs a highly entrepreneurial economy driven by highly entrepreneurial population. The population that is interested to educate itself on the go and all the time, not just when being bolted to school desks.

That is a far cheaper and far more achievable goal than the nebulous "Top 20". I wish someone pointed it out.


Andy Voro


David said...

Thanks for your comment and your perspective, Andy.