Friday, June 15, 2018

OCPA talks higher ed consolidation with News 9

Yesterday, OCPA President Jonathan Small, along with former Governor and OCPA trustee Frank Keating, joined a discussion on News9 about higher education consolidation.

"There's no greater monument to the good ol' boy system that reigned in Oklahoma for decades," said Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small, "than the current higher education footprint."

"When you compare us to other states that have a smaller population like us," Small said, "they don't have near the number of colleges and universities that Oklahoma has."

According to data (located at the bottom of the story)  from the National Center for Education Statistics, Oklahoma has 80 public institutions of higher learning. That's seventh most in the nation; per capita, it's second in the nation.

Critics say that would be fine. if Oklahoma were also ranked that high in the number of degrees being earned, but we're not -- we're 42nd.

"The thing that concerns me," said former Governor Frank Keating, "is I think there are a number of those schools that exist for the purpose of employment in the community and employment of ex-political people."

It’s not clear how many former politicians are now employed in higher education, but former Governor Keating says the only employment these schools should focus on is the employment of graduating students. He says a BRAC process, similar to what's been used to consolidate the nation's military bases, could cut redundant overhead and facilities, and also cut degree programs that don't lead to jobs.

"We have to ask these questions," stated Keating, "are we basically -- I don't mean this to be disrespectful, but -- giving a degree in blotting, erasing and advanced pencil sharpening? I mean, some of these degree programs, they don't hire anybody out of those."
The full story can be viewed here.

Video (if it works; if not, use the above link): - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |


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