40-40-20 as a political slogan for more funding versus educational change
Oregonian columnist David Sarasohn is beginning to see Oregon’s 40-40-20 educational goals for what they are. He writes in his column “Oregon sets a higher ed goal of 40-40-20: Seriously?” (here):
.... Bierwirth's bewilderment comes to mind as the state sets out another lofty goal, 40-40-20 -- having 40 percent of the state's adults with four-year college degrees, 40 percent with two-year degrees or the equivalent, and the remaining 20 percent with high school degrees. It would be an impressive advance, since the four-year number is now closer to 30 percent and the two-year degree number way lower than that. The state is so proud of the goal that the last legislature made it law.
Just like the 1991 school reform bill.
Oregon's not going to get to 40-40-20 by just getting people to sign compacts saying they'll do better. It will take considerable new money for both university resources and financial aid support, a sharp U-turn from the direction the state has followed for the last 20 years.
To get to 40-40-20, which state policy declares is supposed to be within sight by 2025, state higher education chancellor George Pernsteiner estimates Oregon University System enrollment would have to rise from about 100,000 to about 160,000. Portland State President Wim Wievel says, "If you assume that 40-40-20 actually happens, and PSU continues its current role," Portland State enrollment needs to eventually rise from 30,000 to 52,000.
"That is going to take investment," says Pernsteiner, "not just by the universities, not just by the students, but also by the state."
This doesn't mean massively expanding all the campuses; some of the expansion would be online, some of it at off-campus centers. But Oregon's not going to get to 40-40-20 with just some more fold-out couches.....
Sarasohn, I’m sure, would like to see substantially more state funding for higher ed. I’m not ready for that. First, the system needs to make some important changes. I previously blogged (here):
Whenever I read of our educational “40-40-20” goals, I think watch your wallet and checkbook, because that is the political slogan of the status-quo educational establishment in Oregon that wants more public funding. They are trying to sell the idea that increasing the number of Oregonians who meet their various graduation requirements would give us a more competitive, vibrant economy. It is largely a hoax, a fantasy they are pushing at us, the public, to get our money and grow their enterprises.
Why do I think this? Because, if they were serious about our economic future, they would all support more Mandarin and high school study abroad programs. Few do. And, if they were serious about a cost-efficient educational system, they would all be pushing for a more organized and extensive online education system. Again, only a few do. So, they really have a different agenda than a cost-effective educational systems teaching the skills needed for our economic future. They just want our money for an expanded status-quo system.