Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If Louisiana were capable of shame . . .

. . . the following "fun" fact would do it.

But it's not.

C'est la vie.

SO, WE'LL just have to let J.R. Ball of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report be ashamed . . . verklempt . . . mortified on its behalf.
Here's a fact that should make anyone who breathes the contaminated air in this state shudder: Haiti commits a greater percentage of its budget (13%) to higher education than Louisiana (11%).

That's right, the government of a third-world, impoverished nation still struggling to recover from a massive earthquake in 2010 invests more, on a percentage basis, in higher education than the government of Louisiana. That would be the same Louisiana that supposedly is in year five of the eight-year Louisiana miracle.

For those conditioned to respond to such dismal news by saying, “Well, at least we're not Mississippi,” consider that the Magnolia State commits 17.7% of its state budget to higher education, nearly 7 percentage points more than the Bayou State.

So pardon me if my reaction to the just-concluded regular legislative session is a bit more muted than that of those celebrating the “historic” reforms that were approved by Gov. Bobby Jindal and friends. No doubt it was a great session for those demanding reform of K-12 education, but it was another dismal one for higher education. It's gotten so bad that we're forced to celebrate a cut of just $66 million because it could have been as much as $225 million. Yet, remember, higher education must also cut $25 million between now and the end of the month, for a total hit this session of $91 million.

If you are keeping score at home, that's $451 million in budget cuts to higher education since the Jindal administration took office. Moreover, the administration -- thanks to gutless special interest legislators—is now oh-fer-two in its attempts to merge a struggling four-year institution with another university, including one involving Southern University at New Orleans, recently rated as the worst-performing university in America.
FOR YEARS, every time the wife and I head down to Louisiana for a visit, we have commented on the ongoing "Port-au-Princification" of vast swaths of my hometown, Baton Rouge. This refers to how what was nice-to-average now just has become shabby and vaguely Third Worldish.

And now I'll be damned if Louisiana won't even allow me to use ever-so-modest hyperbole to illustrate a bloody point. No, it insists on seeing my dramatic license and raising me a
"WHAT THE Fµ¢#???!!!"

Alas, beating your head against the reinforced-concrete wall of the Gret Stet's cultural and political dysfunction is the height of futility. Unfortunately for Ball, someone's got to do it.


1 comment:

Dez Crawford said...