Incoming National Governors Association president Gov Joe Manchin III of West Virginia has made higher education productivity his administration’s agenda for the next year according to Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Education.
While this follows on Obama’s pronouncement and continued efforts by countless think tanks, trade groups, and philanthropists, this group is a welcome addition.
As Lederman’s post points out — 4 of 5 students engaged in higher education attend a public institution — only a handful (service academies, etc) of which are federally controlled. This unique, dispersed control of higher education supports the American Exceptionalism thesis.
From Inside Higher Education:
In a presentation at the association’s annual meeting and a news conference with reporters, Manchin outlined the steps the governors’ group will take to encourage its members, and the states they oversee, to try to increase the number of college- and career-ready residents despite what is virtually certain to be a time of continued fiscal austerity.
“As states face the worst economic crisis in modern history, we must collaborate to develop common performance measurements and take concrete steps to increase completion rates within our available resources,” he said in unveiling “Complete to Compete.” “From transforming first-year coursework to implementing performance funding, it is up to states and institutions to create policies that can improve degree attainment and more efficiently use the dollars invested by states and students.”
States do need to do more (both b/c of past transgressions and inability of federal policy makers to offer successful policies) to grow their way out of this recession. Higher education is crucial both as a driver and as a tool for other stakeholders. Whether Manchin and the National Governors Association see entrepreneurship policy on campus as the key mechanism the increased productivity remains to be seen. We will watch this one closely.