IBJOpinion

Small schools give bang for buck

April 10, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

Economist Morton Marcus [on March 29] took issue with the notion that college and university graduation rates can be improved by tying compensation to increases (or decreases) in institutional graduation rates.

Improving graduation rates is a worthy goal, Marcus argues, but he predicts that educators will respond simply by lowering standards, watering down expectations, and producing more—but less well educated—graduates.

Moreover, Marcus theorizes that “employers want certificates or degrees because they recognize that those pieces of paper signify endurance. They want employees who have proven they can tolerate anything for an appropriate reward.”

Out in the real world, employers don’t hire pieces of paper. They seek and hire people who can think for themselves, communicate clearly and work in teams.

Much that’s written about higher education mistakenly assumes that “one size fits all”—theorizing that we can increase access and improve outcomes by enlarging institutions and delivering education technologically, rather than through face-to-face ongoing personal contact between teachers and students. Fact: Indiana’s independent colleges produce 35 percent of the state’s bachelor’s degrees by serving 24 percent of our state’s undergraduates on 5 percent of Indiana’s budget for higher education.

Indiana can become what Gov. Daniels calls “the best economic sandbox in America” by investing our hard-pressed dollars where recoveries always begin, in small businesses and in independent colleges.

Residential campuses like ours prepare men and women for significant careers through the liberal arts. They know that learning to do your own thinking, learning to communicate clearly, and learning to work with, for, and on behalf of other people is the path to a life of excellence, leadership and service. Fact: The four-year graduation rate at Indiana’s independent colleges is 60 percent, compared to 29 percent at state institutions.

Indiana can improve educational access and outcomes by employing the liberal arts to prepare graduates for productive and satisfying lives as leaders, professionals and citizens.

____________

James G. Moseley
President
Franklin College

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  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...

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