Dayton made the case that lagging education spending, particularly for higher education, is putting Minnesota at competitive risk. He noted that by one measure, Minnesota's higher-education spending ranks 32nd among the states, and that when adjusted for inflation, this year's state postsecondary spending is lower than at any time since 1980-81. Higher tuition and rising student debt have been the result.
"Does anyone believe that continuing to reduce our commitment to higher education is the path to a better Minnesota?" Dayton asked.
The state's business community does not, judging from last year's Itasca Project report that decried Minnesota's skid in higher-education spending.
One of the most galling things in DFL caucus is when they talk of "education" and they are only focused, or most focused on K-12, which is preliminary to real education, for the skill sets that medicine, engineering, science and business will be needing.
Beggering the graduate programs at the Twin Cities campus, and making tuition sky-high even for the sociology programs, is unwise. Just as childless couples pay taxes toward minimal K-12 schooling for the children of others, as a social investment for us all; so too must the business special interests pay a fair share for the universities, without the watchdog, Chamber, Taxpayer League, or press carping they seem so proud of these days.
Perhaps some curicula, planning comes to my mind, are over funded and under producing, but that's the exception and not the rule. "The U" is more than Tubby and Kill and Lucia. It is med and dental and chemistry and physics faculty much more than the jockstrap crowd, with that jockstrap contingent pulling down the highest salaries and being accorded greatest press and alumni recognition - among some - Sid Hartman and others.
Exercise is good, and I as well as others could use more of it; but academic excellence of U.Minn, TC Campus, and U.W. at Madison are hard-fought statuses to achieve, and too easily dissipated in a short time, by stupid legislators wanting only highways and such for their districts.
Roads are great, but there is more to life than having nice roads, such as high-paying high-skill jobs to drive to.
Keep the U., especially the professional and grad school programs evenly and steadily growing into ever greater nationwide and international recognition for excellence, or become as vaunted a State as Alabama [which does have a better football success history].