Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Higher Education

One thing that sets the U.S. apart from most other nations of the world is the quality of our colleges and universities. There is a vast number of citizens of other countries trying to avail themselves of an American college degree. UT and A&M enjoy worldwide recognition, but Texas politics could change the academic reputation of all higher education in our state.

One thing that enhances the standing of a college or university is the quality of its faculty. A major benefit of college level teachers is job security known as tenure. (Tenure is guaranteed job security unless there is good cause for removing you from your position.) Our lieutenant governor wants to abolish this perk so that he can control any political thought of professors. Some of our best scholars have already left the state because of this attack by Lieutenant Governor Patrick and a few right-wing senators.

Full and free discussion is part of what a university is. Things not popular today often are the ideas that improve our lives in the future. Many politicians have tried to tie the value of a college professor by the number of hours in a classroom as opposed to time doing research. Such political control is clearly short-sighted and would foreclose finding our way to the moon, cures for diseases and many other ways to make life better.

Tenure is one of the few tools that higher education can use when competing with business and industry for the service of bright young men and women. We need to let our elected officials know to not try and manage higher education and end up with a second-rate system.


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