Monday, May 23, 2011

(Re) Defining an issue

The Center for College Affordability, working in partnership with Texas Public Policy Foundation, released a study today revealing that 20% of the teaching faculty at UT-Austin are responsible for teaching 57% of credit hours.

On the surface, the solution to this would seem relatively simple: Have more teachers spend more time actually "teaching" students.

For the State's sub-par political media however, the solution is that the issue just needs to be re-defined:

(Tweet from the Austin Chronicles LegeLand blogging team)
LegeLand: Texas conservatives tout study that minority of lecturers teach majority of credit hours: But are those mega-lectures really teaching much?
Part of this is probably just your normal, run-of-the-mill backlash that any proposal by two conservative groups would experience from a liberal media outlet. Some of it is probably much more.

So intent are the Universities, and their fellow travelers in political media, to resist any change outside of "more money" that could potentially impact their rankings on the various "higher learning institution" lists that it's easier to just keep throwing up road blocks attempting to blur the definition of what's being debated.

Nowhere in the study were large, theater-style classes mentioned, yet they were assumed by a media who is now actively advocating against the Conservative position on higher-education reform. When you're losing the debate on intellectual grounds, try and refocus the discussion on something else. It's a pretty standard play book that's playing out in Texas right before our eyes.

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