The Conservative Agenda

U.S. universities employed more than 230,000 administrators in 2009, up 60 percent from 1993, or 10 times the rate of growth of the tenured faculty, those with permanent positions and job security, according to U.S. Education Department data.

Spending on administration has been rising faster than funds for instruction and research at 198 leading U.S. research universities, concluded a 2010 study by Jay Greene, an education professor at the University of Arkansas.

“Administrative bloat is clearly contributing to the overall cost of higher education,” Greene said in a telephone interview.

Is Administrative Bloat Hurting Higher Ed? Number of College Administrators Up 60 Percent from 1993,” John Hechinger

After the election debacle, the Republican party is supposedly re-thinking it main aims and goals. I have real doubts about how far this will go but I sometimes try to imagine what a good solid conservative party would be like and what it’s goals ought to be. It would be great to have a party focused on administrative efficiency, for example, instead of that only sees pubic institutions as a potential bargain buy.

I’ve long thought that the conservatives ought to be leading the way in fighting for national health care. Wouldn’t it be easier to run any business, especially those beloved small businesses, if the businesses didn’t have to worry about health care? Wouldn’t be even better if we had a real national pension system, so that no business had to worry about retirement plans? What about a national day care system?

All of these programs are pro-business, benefit from a national scale, and could be watched over carefully by a conservative party concerned with the way we spend public money. I think conservatives ought to be even more upset about the administrative bloat in public universities, not simply because of the waste represented by misspent funds. They ought to be very concerned about the education of their workforce as well.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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