22 February 2011

And speaking of education rants

My wife showed me a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how the University of Kentucky is falling far short of its statutory mandate of being a "top 20" public university by the year 2020.  The reason isn't hard to figure out: the state doesn't fund education adequately and the voters don't seem to mind that.

Seriously - Kentucky passed a law that said UK is required to be teh awesome but has repeatedly cut its funding relative to costs.  As a result the university has actually dropped in every meaningful ranking system (to the extent that these rankings are meaningful at all) - including its own system, which probably gives itself the benefit of every doubt.  That's right - UK can't move up in the rankings, even when it grades itself on a curve.

Bottom line: when the issue is hiring a top-tier basketball coach or even building a new practice court, the state will always - ALWAYS - come up with the resources somehow.  Public money, booster slush funds, some cash stuffed in a mattress somewhere, whatever.   But when the issue is academics, that's a place to cut, not spend.

If the Kentucky legislature actually paid attention in math class - check that, if they actually HAD math class -  maybe they'd realize you don't get something for nothing.

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