Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chancellor Wants to Speed Graduation But Doesn't Want to Spend More Money on Instruction, Even When Offered the Money

In explaining why the Chancellor opposes AB 656, which would tax the oil companies, who aren't now being assessed an extraction tax (the only place in the country where they aren't), the Contra Costa Times, February 8, 2010 reported:

"Even the Cal State system, which would be the main beneficiary of the tax, has had trouble backing it. The 23-campus university has bristled at the requirement that it spend the money on instruction.

“‘We have things that need to be done that aren't just about hiring faculty,’ said Karen Zamarripa, Cal State's assistant vice chancellor for advocacy and state relations.”

Of all things! Instruction. Imagine that. We don't want more money for instruction, even if we don't have to spend any less on anything else because of the bill, even though this would just be more money purely for instruction. Why, if we got more money purely for instruction and were forced to spend it on that alone, can't you see how this would distort the CSU system? Can't you see that this constitutes sufficient grounds for us to oppose the bill?

What do you think higher education is principally about, teaching and learning (and related scholarship and research)? My lord. What planet are you from? We in the Chancellor's Office, why we have much better things to spend the taxpayer's money on such as half a billion or more on a software program (PeopleSoft) (that doesn't even work very well and works less well than its predecessor), hiring outside consultants like Sir Michael Barber from England (who is not a teacher and knows nothing about teaching and learning) to teach us about teaching and learning (why would we ask our own faculty about such esoterica?), paying outside lobbyists (which even the UC system doesn't do) to lobby for us in Sacramento, funding the free housing and cars that top administrators get (after all, the work they do is so very hard), giving large sums to ex-presidents for unspecified work (after all, the work they used to do was so very hard), arranging (sweetheart) deals and further privatizing the system? Why, if you gave us more money that had to be spent on instruction, we might not be able to reduce further the courses we presently require for general education and we might not be able to reduce the number of faculty further.

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