What is occurring in Maine is the opposite of what has occurred in places where the “charter” university concept has taken hold–most notably Virginia. In those places, elite public universities have accepted lower state subsidies for more institutional “flexibility”–which has meant more aggressive efforts to attract out-of-state and international students who pay higher tuition. At the elite public universities, there are then fewer seats for -in-state students and especially for in-state students from economically disadvantaged or even less than affluent backgrounds.
Combine those realities with news such as that out of Indiana, where the number of degrees being awarded has increased but the number of state residents with degrees has declined, and it becomes clear that all of these efforts to privatize public education–to find ways of reducing public support for public education–undermine the goals that everyone keeps reiterating.
From politicians to university administrators, from faculty to students, from parents…
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