June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.1215.1 - 8.1215.7
US Education – Major Problems Ahead
Robert C. Creese Ph.D., PE, CCE Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Department College of Engineering and Mineral Resources West Virginia University
The US Higher Education system is in a severe financial crisis as the state and federal governments have cut back on funding to universities. The tax cuts at the federal level has led to major decreases in federal spending and has forced the states to increase spending in other areas such as health care and highways, where the federal government shares a large part of the costs and the states get more revenues for each state dollar spent. The programs at the K-12 level permit students to transfer out of schools failing to meet the minimum standards, but this permits only the “good” students to transfer out as the private schools won’t take the poorer students. This results in making it more difficult for the poor schools to improve as the better students leave for better schools. States therefore must focus on improving the poor schools in order to keep the federal funding and the state higher education budgets suffer as higher education federal funds are not tied to any federal standards for school performance. In addition many public schools in the K-12 level are unionized with contracts for a 3 to 5 year period and cuts are difficult to implement in a short time frame. The federal budget prepared by the president is a deficit budget without considering any of the tentative war expenses and yet he is still proposing additional tax cuts that will tend to cause more financial problems for higher education.
The threat of another oil crisis with the political instability in Venezuela, a threat of war with Iraq, a threat of war with North Korea, the threat of terrorist activities, and the lack of a clear victory in Afghanistan, have led to reduced consumer confidence in the economy. The economy, which has been primarily supported only by the consumer sector and not by the information economy, the service economy, or the manufacturing sector, appears to be on the brink of going into a depression. The effect of the tax cuts for the wealthy and the lower interest rates have not restored the economic engine as the investors are not investing in new equipment and facilities. The unemployment rates have reached the highest levels in over ten years and appear to be increasing. The holiday spending increase in 2002 was reported to be the lowest in the last 10 years and some have indicated the lowest in the last 30 years. In June of 2002 it was stated that for colleges this current recession was not just another recession, but this one will be more severe(1). Nearly a year later, it appears this prediction was correct.
“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright©, American Society for Engineering Education”
Creese, R. (2003, June), U.S. Education Major Problems Ahead Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/12505
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