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Archive for the ‘Reforms’ Category

MNGOP Chairman Keith Downey’s op-ed mentions a statistic that needs to be expanded upon:

Most importantly, Schultz never once mentioned the most basic budget facts: State spending on autopilot is scheduled to grow 21 percent over four years, from $34 billion to $41 billion, without spending a dime of the surplus or raising any new taxes. And Democrats have proposed a budget that spends almost the entire surplus — and raises taxes, for an $8 billion, 24 percent increase in spending over four years, from $34 billion to well over $42 billion.

The DFL automatically calculates inflation into their budgets. That’s because, in their way of thinking, that every penny ever appropriated needs to be spent forevermore. It presumes that that money is being spent efficiently and that there isn’t a better way of providing the same service less expensively.

That’s assuming that each agency’s and department’s staffing must increase. The DFL wouldn’t think of eliminating the Met Council or the MnSCU Central Office. In the DFL’s mind, they’re pictures of efficiency and importance. In reality, they’re neither. They’re portraits of inefficiency, cronyism and corruption.

When MNsure was created, the legislature created an oversight committee. It met a couple times, then went silent for months while MNsure imploded. The committee didn’t meet again until after April Todd-Malmlov resigned after taking a 2-week vacation to Costa Rica while MNsure imploded.

The DFL doesn’t believe in oversight. They never have because they don’t think money is ever misspent. Either that or the DFL legislators that think there’s a need for change get bullied by the DFL machine into giving up their reform ideas.

That’s what happened with Gene Pelowski. Everyone knows Rep. Pelowski hates MnSCU. He initially talked a great reform/accountability game while he chaired the House Higher Ed Committee. That changed when it came time to put a budget together. Suddenly, Chairman Pelowski, the reformer, turned a blind eye towards MnSCU. He didn’t even know that Dr. Rosenstone had signed a contract extension that raised his pay by almost $50,000 a year.

If Minnesotans want to continue getting fleeced, all they have to do is keep voting for budget by autopilot. As a bonus, they’ll get a legislature that doesn’t believe in oversight or accountability.

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Last night, Gov. Scott Walker, (R-WI), went ‘on the record’ with Fox’s Greta van Susteren:

One of the first things that Gov. Walker touted was the positive impact Act 10 has had on education:

GOV. WALKER: People claimed that public education would fall apart. Instead, by getting rid of seniority and tenure, we empowered school districts to put their best and their brightest in the classrooms by hiring based on merit and pay … Today, our schools are better. Our graduation rates are up. Our third-grade reading scores are up. Our ACT scores are the second best in the nation.

Thus far, we’ve watched DC pundits and British blowhards ask trivial questions of Gov. Walker about such non-pressing importance like whether he believes in evolution or whether he thinks President Obama is a Christian.

When Gov. Walker didn’t play their gotcha games, the media acted like they’d been scandalized. What’d happened was that Gov. Walker essentially told them, politely, was that he wanted to talk about important things, not the gotcha stuff they wanted to talk about. Thank God for that.

Other than the DC blowhards, nobody gives a rip about Gov. Walker’s thoughts on evolution or President Obama’s faith. What they care most about is what he’ll do to fix the messes that President Obama has created. The people understand that the next president will have to deal with a defiant Vladimir Putin, a terrorist nation that’s expanding its reach and a regulatory regime that’s crippling innovation and job creation.

GOV. WALKER: You’ll appreciate this, Greta. I was in Green Bay, WI, this afternoon. I was at 2 of the leading job creators talking about opportunities for people with disabilities and somebody in the press at the end of the event asked a question about this very subject and I said “I challenge you to go out and walk with me down the streets of Green Bay, WI, and ask 100 people on the street what they really care about. I’m certain not a one of them will talk about the issues we heard about in Washington.

That’s a perfect way to deal with the Gotcha Media. Gov. Walker didn’t respond this aggressively initially but he’s catching on quick. The thing he already understands that Jeb Bush never will is that the press will back down a bit (not a lot but a little) if they’re worried about some timely sharp elbows to keep them on the straight-and-narrow.

Think of it like a Bob Gibson fastball past your head or into your ribs if you showboated after hitting a home run off of him.

The thing that Gov. Walker now understands is that the Gotcha Media that cover the campaigns need him more than he needs any one of them. It isn’t that he needs to constantly pick fights with the reporters covering his campaign. It’s that he needs to remind them that he’ll give preferential treatment to people who don’t ask gotcha questions. If reporters ask tough, policy-oriented questions, he should answer respectfully.

It won’t take long for the reporters to figure out, and adapt to, the ground rules.

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God bless John McCormack for highlighting the lie in Gail Collins’ column. Check this out from Collins’ column:

Mainly, though, The Speech was about waging war on public employee unions, particularly the ones for teachers. “In 2010, there was a young woman named Megan Sampson who was honored as the outstanding teacher of the year in my state. And not long after she got that distinction, she was laid off by her school district,” said Walker, lacing into teacher contracts that require layoffs be done by seniority.

All of that came as a distinct surprise to Claudia Felske, a member of the faculty at East Troy High School who actually was named a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year in 2010. In a phone interview, Felske said she still remembers when she got the news at a “surprise pep assembly at my school.” As well as the fact that those layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.

The title of Collins’ article is “Scott Walker Needs an Eraser”. I’d argue that it’s Ms. Collins that needs either an eraser or an editor. Ms. Sampson didn’t lose her job in 2010 because Gov. Walker “cut state aid to education.”

The reason McCormack highlighted that part of the paragraph is because Scott Walker didn’t take the oath of office as Wisconsin’s 45th governor until January, 2011, which means that Ms. Sampson lost her job because of Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget cuts to education.

McCormack’s article actually highlights this:

Emily Koczela had been anxiously waiting for months for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill to take effect. Koczela, the finance director for the Brown Deer school district, had been negotiating with the local union, trying to get it to accept concessions in order to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall. But the union wouldn’t budge.

“We laid off 27 [teachers] as a precautionary measure,” Koczela told me. “They were crying. Some of these people are my friends.”

On June 29 at 12:01 a.m., Koczela could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The budget repair bill?—?delayed for months by protests, runaway state senators, and a legal challenge that made its way to the state’s supreme court?—?was law. The 27 teachers on the chopping block were spared.

With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan?—?such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)?—?saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.

Here’s the difference between Jim Doyle, who supposedly supports teachers, and Scott Walker, who supposedly hates union workers: Scott Walker’s reforms saved jobs, Jim Doyle’s status quo policies would’ve led to teacher layoffs or major property tax increases.

Gail Collins’ editors either don’t give a shit about the truth or Gail Collins doesn’t give a shit about the truth. Either that or liberal ‘journalists’ are only interested in pushing the progressives’ agenda. Either that or it’s all of the above.

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One of the worst-kept political secrets is that the DFL is fighting with itself. That isn’t secret anymore because Gov. Dayton announced that he’s cutting the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s budget:

Dayton was nothing if not transparent about the move. The budget materials given to reporters before the late-morning briefing stated that the total of $3.77 million in reductions to the Park Board over the two-year budget period was due to “the Board’s continuing efforts to obstruct progress on the Southwest Light Rail Transit project.”

Of the total, $1.26 million would have come out of the state general fund and $2.51 million out of the natural resources fund, money intended to help the Met Council and 10 local park agencies develop and maintain parks that are regional destinations (think Minnehaha Falls). The money that would be lost by the Minneapolis board goes toward annual operating costs.

When asked about it, Dayton said it was possible he would support restoring the money, if the Park Board ended it opposition. “In my view, if they have all this money to hire consultants, they don’t need all the state money that’s been allocated to them.” Dayton said. He described the board’s actions so far as “very irresponsible.”

First, I’m totally fine with cutting the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s appropriation through the state budget. If Minneapolis wants a Park and Recreation Board, let them pay for it. In fact, eliminating the state government appropriation is justifiable, in my opinion.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s advocates will argue that they add value to the state. That’s disputable at best. It might help Minnesota tangentially. In fact, I don’t know that a compelling case can be made that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board makes Minneapolis substantially better.

Most importantly, this is a perfect example of why Speaker Daudt shouldn’t consider funding the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, aka the SWLRT project. The DFL is still fighting with itself on the SWLRT project. Next, regardless of whether the DFL is fighting amongst itself, the SWLRT project is a major waste of money. It’s spending tons of Minnesota taxpayers’ money on something that isn’t a priority with Minnesota’s taxpayers.

The DFL a) is proposing a massive middle class tax increase, b) is still fighting with itself on how to spend your money on their friends and c) is telling Minnesota that paying off their political allies is more important than spending your money wisely.

To use Scott Walker’s words, going big and being bold is the way to differentiate between the DFL’s payoffs and the conservatives’ priorities. Going bold is the way for Republicans to win the legislative fight in 2015, then win the 2016 election.

A political party divided against itself will soon be defeated.

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Charlie Cook’s latest article on the state of the GOP presidential race has more than a few flaws in it. He got this part right:

First there is the establishment bracket, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and possibly former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney competing for that semifinal slot.

Despite the MSM’s ‘reporting’, this isn’t where the action is. It’s mostly a sideshow that’ll keep the DC pundits entertained. Think of this as the ‘vastly overrated’ part of the race.

Cook didn’t get this part right:

Then there is the conservative governor/former governor slot—with, potentially, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker competing, all seeking to be non-Washington and non-Congress candidates, but each with more conservative, or at least better conservative, credentials than Bush, Christie, or Romney.

John Kasich lost his conservative credentials over the weekend when he fought for Common Core. That’s a deal-buster with conservatives. It isn’t likely that Rick Snyder and Mike Pence will run so they can be ignored. That leaves us with Rick Perry and Scott Walker. That’s the real bracket. Let’s call this the conservatives with credentials bracket.

The MSM is writing off Rick Perry. That’s a major mistake. He’s a much more serious candidate this time than in 2012. He’s got a lengthy list of conservative reforms under his belt. He’s definitely anti-Washington. He’s definitely pro-border enforcement, which plays well with conservative activists. He’s signed tort reform, which has led to a major influx of doctors into Texas. While most of the nation worries about doctor shortages, that isn’t a worry in Texas.

That leaves Scott Walker in this bracket. Activists see him as the giant-killer who took on the public employee unions and beat them. Then the PEUs got upset with him and tried defeating him in a recall election. The PEUs took another thumping in 2012. They didn’t have their fill so they returned for another shot in 2014. Gov. Walker’s Act 10 reforms were so popular that Mary Burke, the Democrats’ candidate, didn’t even mention the subject.

That’s one of the brackets where the excitement will be.

Then there’s the youthful senators bracket. This bracket features Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. I don’t know that any of these candidates will advance to the finals but they’ll generate lots of excitement.

At the end of the day, I suspect that the finalists will be Walker and someone else. I’d be surprised if that someone else is Jeb Bush. Bush is definitely more formidable with the media than with activists.

There’s only one conclusion that can be drawn after reading this article. Milwaukee will soon experience a substantial outmigration in population because the tyrants running the Milwaukee Public Schools are a) running failing schools and b) doing everything possible to prevent the opening or expansion of charter schools. First, here’s some foundational information:

In 2013, St. Marcus, a highly regarded school that accepts voucher students through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, needed to add a second campus.

Its classrooms, from the K3 program serving 3 year olds through those for its oldest students in eighth grade, were full. The school had a waiting list of more than 300 students whose parents were eager for them to attend. There were plenty of vacant MPS school buildings available. There still are, as a new report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty documents.

The Democrats’ attempts to stifle school choice are breathtaking:

Tyson set his sights on the building that previously housed the Malcolm X Academy. The 170,000-square-foot property would provide St. Marcus with plenty of room to grow. Tyson contacted then MPS Superintendent Greg Thornton about the building. “He expressed an interest in selling and told me to write to the school board,” Tyson said. “I did.”

Then he waited.

After three months of waiting, Tyson finally received a response. “I got a single line response that said they weren’t willing to sell us the building,” Tyson said.

Get yourself a cup of hot chocolate or a cup of coffee because we’re just getting started with the Democrats’ chicanery:

“Milwaukee officials have chosen to block the expansion of choice and charter schools into unused and underutilized buildings. This hostility comes in many forms: local administrative policies that ban sales of facilities to certain non-MPS schools, the failure of MPS to keep a public list of what buildings are empty and underutilized, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s insistence of charging a ‘school choice tax’ as a condition on selling or leasing empty buildings, and the creation of last-minute ‘deals’ done solely to thwart the sale of facilities to schools in the choice program in high demand by Milwaukee families,” the report asserts.

First, Tom Barrett was the Democrats’ candidate against Scott Walker in the recall election in 2012. There’s more to the Democrats’ chicanery:

School board president Michael Barnes unveiled an ambitious and convoluted plan for the building. Malcolm X would be sold to a real estate developer who would convert part of it into apartments and the rest into a community resource center. MPS would then lease and eventually buy the community resource center.

The WILL report describes this deal as “a sham transaction done solely to prevent St. Marcus from obtaining the building.” This was an opinion held by many at the time, particularly after it was revealed the developer had not secured the financing needed for the project.

Calling this a “sham transaction” is an insult to scam artists. Still, we aren’t done with the Democrats’ corruption:

Tyson continued his talks with city officials. A price of $880,000 for the building was agreed to and St. Marcus was also set to pay a PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes — for the property, since as a private school it would be exempt from property taxes. “We agreed to that because we understand that any property in the city, even one owned by a nonprofit, uses city services,” Tyson explained.

The PILOT was expected to be $204,151.

The next obstacle appeared at what Tyson thought was going to be the final meeting with the city officials to set the terms of the sale. “This second obstacle was hilariously tragic,” Tyson recalled with a rueful laugh. “The mayor’s assistant gave me a piece of paper with a second PILOT on it. They wanted us to pay an additional $1.3 million to cover what they said the city would lose by students using vouchers to go to our school,” he said.

That the unions and other Democrats are doing everything possible to undermine charter schools isn’t surprising. Likewise, it won’t be surprising when people start voting with their mortgages and start leaving Milwaukee. In fact, it’s inevitable.

Frankly, I’d love to hear that the Republican majority do something to entice Milwaukee charter school parents to leave Milwaukee for cities with lots of charter schools.

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When I first skimmed this NY Times article, I thought it was a decent article, in part because of this analysis:

Nonetheless, there will be demand for an alternative to Mr. Bush, even from within the so-called Republican establishment. Since Friday, attention has focused on Mitt Romney, who said in a meeting of top advisers and donors that he was considering a third run.

But the more compelling challenger may be Scott Walker, the battle-hardened governor of Wisconsin. He has made moves toward running, and on paper, he’s the type of candidate who should deeply concern Mr. Bush.

A study of the 2012 election suggests that Jeb Bush has nothing to fear from moving to the right during the primary season.

Unlike the flawed but better-known conservatives, Mr. Walker has the potential to have broad appeal throughout the Republican Party. Mr. Walker, born in Colorado Springs, is an evangelical Christian who defeated public employee unions in a high-profile battle over collective bargaining rights and who made big budget cuts in a state that has voted for Democrats in seven consecutive presidential elections.

First, I disagree that Gov. Bush “has nothing to fear from moving to the right” during the primaries. He isn’t a conservative anymore. Admittedly, he had a reasonably conservative record as governor but he’s wandered quite a bit since leaving office almost a decade ago.

The analysis is right in that Gov. Walker’s appeal is substantial for quite a few reasons, starting with the fact that he’s taken on some rather large challenges and won. It’s also because Gov. Walker’s supporters across the nation feel passionately about him and would run through brick walls for him. That’s something that other GOP presidential candidates can’t tout, including Rand Paul.

Ron Paul’s supporters were willing to run through walls for him but Rand Paul isn’t like his father. He’s a polished politician, not the conscience of the Libertarian Party.

Yet unlike most conservative heroes, Mr. Walker has the record, résumé and temperament of a candidate who could attract significant support from the establishment.

In short, Gov. Walker has a substantial list of conservative accomplishments. Many of those accomplishments are reforms that Wisconsin’s needed for years. People think that Gov. Walker’s only accomplishment is union reform. Few people talk about his expansion of charter schools and school choice options.

Those are accomplishments that translate well to the national stage.

This is where they went wrong:

Some question whether he has the charisma to distinguish himself in a crowded field. He could end up like the former governor Tim Pawlenty, another Midwesterner, who was thought to be a strong challenger to Mr. Romney in 2012 but who ultimately failed to gain traction in Iowa.

Gov. Walker is nothing like Gov. Pawlenty. Gov. Pawlenty’s biggest accomplishment wasn’t really an accomplishment. Gov. Pawlenty prevented the DFL from raising taxes through the roof. It’s the right thing to do but it isn’t an accomplishment.

The other difference between Gov. Pawlenty and Gov. Walker is that people supported Gov. Pawlenty but Gov. Walker’s supporters would run through walls for him. Simply put, the charisma argument isn’t credible.

Thanks to Darrell Downs’ article, we finally have a platform from which we should talk about Chancellor Rosenstone’s Charting the Future initiative. I hope that the first part of this series furthers that conversation. This paragraph from Downs’ article is worthy of examination:

Students, faculty, staff and taxpayers deserve an honest and open conversation about change. This conversation could start by recognizing that even good ideas can come at an untenable price. No public funds have been appropriated for systemwide planning, so isn’t it reasonable to know what is being sacrificed by pursuing new directions? When sacrifice gets down to the campus level, it could mean fewer programs, fewer majors and minor degree options and fewer options for students; ultimately it means less freedom to serve our students.

If that first sentence is the most important consideration in implementing a major change, and it should be, then Chancellor Rosenstone failed miserably. If we agree that everyone that’s potentially affected by these changes should have meaningful input into the changes, which should be imperative, then Chancellor Rosenstone failed when he kept CtF’s blueprint a secret and when he hid McKinsey’s contract.

If CtF truly is innovative, what expertise could McKinsey bring to the equation? If CtF is groundbreaking in nature, then we’re writing chapters in a totally new book. Personally, I’m skeptical that CtF is a groundbreaking reform initiative. That’s because Chancellor Rosenstone isn’t an outside-the-box thinker. He’s worked too long in the public sector to have fresh insights into systemic problems that he’s presided over.

Further, he’s still trying to win the debate that his presidents are highly qualified. That ship sailed a year or more ago. The presidents at Moorhead and Metro were fired. The presidents at St. Cloud State and Mankato should’ve gotten fired. President Davenport should’ve gotten fired for his foolish decision to fire Coach Hoffner. President Potter should’ve gotten fired for signing a terrible lease with the J.A. Wedum Foundation that SCSU is losing an average of $1,300,000 per year on, for losing tens of millions of dollars on tuition revenues due to dramatically declining enrollments and for intimidating students.

Further, MnSCU is notorious for not seeking public input. They certainly didn’t require public input into dropping SCSU’s aviation program. That was shoved down the faculty’s and the students’ throats without meaningful public input. (Detecting a pattern here?)

Meaningful change also happens on campus. Campus faculty and staff are continually redirecting their scarce resources to meet the needs of students. Academic programs are changed and new courses are created and modified through careful and frequent deliberation. New partnerships are built with businesses, governments, and non-profits, and new directions for the universities are developed on a regular basis. Rosenstone is correct in saying that change is hard, but he is wrong to imply that it’s not already happening.

MnSCU itself is an impediment to good governance. CtF will only make matters worse. During Chancellor Rosenstone’s administration, MnSCU has fought for more centralized control of the system. The best reforms come when lots of experiments are being tried. Some inevitably fail but others succeed beautifully.

The 1990s are the perfect example of that. Half a dozen governors worked on welfare reform. The welfare reform bill that Bill Clinton signed was the byproduct of experimentation by Tommy Thompson, Bill Weld and Bill Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas.

If Rosenstone were truly wise, he’d start by listening to the faculty, students and businesses. Then he’d work with faculty and students in putting together a list of key principles that reform must accomplish. Finally, he’d bring in the best and the brightest reformers to implement the reforms.

Instead, Rosenstone put a blueprint together, then hired a consulting firm to implement his top-down plan. It isn’t surprising faculty and students aren’t buying into his initiative.

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When he served in the legislature, Mike Beard was my go-to guy on energy and environmental issues. Two things impressed me about Mike. First, his understanding of energy and environmental issues is outstanding. The only thing more impressive than Mike’s understanding of energy and environmental issues was the fact that Mike Beard’s integrity was unassailable. This morning, Mike teamed with Roger Moe to write this op-ed on energy issues for the St. Cloud Times. Here’s the chief point Beard and Moe drove home:

To help ensure we continue to have a reliable source of electricity in Minnesota and throughout our region, we recently signed on as the honorary co-chairs of the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future, an organization that advocates for preserving a balanced, all-of-the-above approach to electricity that includes traditional sources like coal-based power plants in both Minnesota and North Dakota.

Lignite is a grade of coal that might not sound familiar, but the electricity North Dakota lignite generates is regularly transmitted to us in Minnesota.

Lignite is different from the coal found in the Appalachian regions of the eastern United States, or other coals that must be shipped long distances by train. Because it is mined at the surface, rather than underground, lignite coal mining is safer than other heavy industries such as construction and manufacturing. It is also consumed at power plants adjacent to the mines, which virtually eliminates costly transportation charges and the need to burn diesel to transport coal.

The regional coal industry takes great pride in its ability to generate this low-cost source of electricity while simultaneously reducing emissions. In fact, North Dakota, with its eight coal plants and Minnesota, with its 11 coal plants, enjoy great marks from the American Lung Association. This prime ALA rating should serve as a reminder that electricity from coal can be economically beneficial and environmentally sound.

Mike’s goal, whenever I spoke with him, was to educate people about Minnesota’s energy needs within the context of keeping Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams and air as clean as possible. That’s what this paragraph is about:

But when looking to the future, we can’t forget about the present. The diverse set of energy resources we use includes intermittent resources like wind and solar, as well as sources of always on, reliable power such as coal, nuclear, biomass and hydropower.

While it’s important to keep Minnesota’s air and water as clean as possible, it’s imperative that we don’t reach past the tipping point of clean air and affordable electric bills for families. This op-ed highlights how lignite coal gets good grades from the American Lung Association while providing reliable energy at a cheap price.

The first dirty little secret is that solar and wind power can’t replace coal because you can’t run factories on wind or solar power. The other dirty little secret is that the federal government wants to expand its regulatory reach beyond where the CWA is authorized to reach:

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently released a draft rule to significantly broaden the scope of their authority under the Clean Water Act by expanding the definition of “waters of the United States.” The guidance would reverse U.S. Supreme Court decisions setting limits on the federal government’s authority to regulate waters without Congressional action.

The CWA is one of the most abused laws in the federal government. The Obama administration hopes to use it to increase its regulatory authority into areas currently governed by state and local jurisdictions. It’s imperative that this overreach is stopped before it hurts the U.S. economy.

Darrell Downs’ article is must reading for the House and Senate Higher Ed committees, the MnSCU Board of Trustees, Gov. Dayton, Commissioner Pogemiller and every taxpayer whose son or daughter is attending to thinking about attending a MnSCU university. Here’s the opening of the article:

The icy standoff between campus faculty and the leadership of the Minnesota State College and Universities (MnSCU) needs to end — but let’s first get to the root of the problem.

MnSCU has been leading an experiment to change campuses into quasi-private franchises for years. Producing more degrees more quickly and more cheaply has been its hallmark. Never mind that the quality of the education may suffer when change is put in the hands of political appointees and corporate advisers.

To gild the lily of misguided privatization, MnSCU also pays for multimillion-dollar consultants, such as McKinsey and Co., to manage system planning, regardless of faculty and student objections. And it’s only a matter of time before we learn how much is being spent on consultants to “rebrand” the system.

It’s long past time for MnSCU leadership to step outside of its ivory towers. I’ve followed the higher ed reform beat for the better part of 4 years. I’ve seen documentation that verifies as fact that none of the MnSCU Trustees has ever held a townhall meeting in their congressional district. They certainly haven’t met with faculty members.

It’s foolish to think that an outside consultant is better equipped to suggest improvements and implement changes than are the people within the system. If the people that make up the system aren’t qualified for that initiative, then that’s a management failure to hire high quality administrators.

For the record, I’m positive that some of the universities’ administrators are more than qualified for putting a plan together while working with faculty and listening to students’ concerns. It’s just that Chancellor Rosenstone picked the wrong people for putting the reform package together and implementing that package.

Instead, Chancellor Rosenstone brought an adversarial attitude to the project. That attitude led to him secretly hiring McKinsey’s consultants, which spent $2,000,000 that shouldn’t have been spent. Chancellor Rosenstone decided that Charting the Future was the right initiative without meaningful input. Then he hired expensive consultants to implement his initiative.

Isn’t it a bit ironic that a reform initiative is implemented by doing what past administrators have done for decades? When the CEO of MnSCU puts the ‘reform’ package together, why should I think that he’s on the right path?

Downs is exactly right in highlighting expensive consultant-driven ‘reforms’. Nothing about that process sounds like a process that produces thoughtful, forward-looking reforms. Check back to LFR on Sunday for Part II of this series.

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