"Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. "
Lt. Governor Patrick's shadow loomed large over this morning's Trib event on Higher Ed. funding; as such it could not have been more enjoyable for this author to attend.
Neither Senator brought up administrative expenses on their own. To his credit, Evan Smith went there. Discussing exploding administrative costs at a time when universities are raising tuition, Smith noted: "the optics are crap." Seliger didn't argue. Even Kirk Watson was forced, kicking and screaming though he might have been on the inside, to admit that looking at administrative costs is "appropriate."
Smith also asked whether higher education costs were the result of market forces creating an equilibrium along the supply and demand curves. While neither Senator responded, we will point out that there is nothing even remotely resembling a free market in higher education. While distortions in higher ed. market are primarily caused by the feds, it should still be the task of the Texas legislature to not create more distortions.
There was one topic that wasn't brought up that we wish had been: Endowments. UT has the second largest endowment of any university in the country, A&M's isn't far behind, and no public university in Texas is exactly hurting in that department. At some point we're going to have to ask if it's appropriate to have the universities sit on billions of dollars while they're raising tuition on students.
Bottom Line: When the biggest defenders of the status quo squirm visibly at a public event, that's a very good sign.