By Reeve Hamilton
The current controversy dominating the higher education headlines in Texas is nothing if not nuanced. It’s hard for anyone to disagree with the broad buzzwords used by both sides: accountability, productivity, excellence, accessibility, transparency.
One might be hard-pressed to find an official of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which has promoted the controversial “seven breakthrough solutions” for higher education, who openly opposes “great research” or an administrator of a research institution, such as the University of Texas, fighting against “great teaching” — though those two are often presented as being at odds with each other.
This may be because there’s more agreement than disagreement, even among the most strident players on either side. Senate Higher Education Chairwoman Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, has been outspoken in her criticism of Gov. Rick Perry‘s agenda. At the same time, she carried — and passed — most of his office’s proposed higher education legislation. Alex Cranberg, one of Perry’s newly appointed regents at the University of Texas System and a strong advocate of reforming higher education, told the Tribune recently that he believes the differences between himself and those who have criticized him to be “relatively modest.”
Of course, the devil’s in the details. Read More