Friday, October 09, 2009

Academic pomposity

Spare CSU a Phoenix Takeover

William Tierney's editorial is astonishing for its elitism.

 Safely ensconced in his perch as a USC professor, Tierney argues that California would benefit from Phoenix University's "acquisition of the CSU system." Tierney sees the state's fiscal crisis as an opportunity to reward a failed private sector, which has pushed California's unemployment rate to over 12 percent, by handing over the CSU system to the profiteers at Phoenix University.  Tierney concedes that Phoenix has "little concern for academic freedom," "lacks transparency and resists any meaningful regulatory oversight," and "would likely increase student indebtedness."

Still, he advocates privatizing a public higher education system that has served the state admirably for over 60 years because "Phoenix is a proven generator of trained graduates ready to enter the work force."  And CSU graduates aren't?  Tierney would rather dismantle a public good than call for renewed public investment in higher education (and he's a "professor of higher education").

The subtext of Tierney's drab editorial is that he'll continue to teach the affluent kids at USC while the sons and daughters of working-class Californians are fed a terrible fast-food education from a Phoenix-style diploma mill.

Joseph A. Palermo
Associate Professor of History
CSU, Sacramento
The Sacramento Bee
October 7, 2009
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