From: Nseabasi Ufot
Date: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 5:17 PM
Subject: RE: "Higher Education Performance Standards" Model Bill
To: Steve Horn
I just finished reading and marking up the model legislation that you sent. I can say with a fair amount of
certainty that this is not the kind of bill that the AAUP would support. We actually have recently advised
state conferences to oppose similar legislation (Connecticut immediately comes to mind).
The "red flags":
1) This bill seeks to reorganize a state's entire public higher education system, including the development
of performance standards and the evaluation of institutions' ability to meet said standards with no faculty
input and without meaningful input from all of the state's public colleges and universities. The Commission
calls for a total of 14 members, with only 3 members representing public colleges and universities).
2) It seeks to change the state's higher education funding model by tying appropriations to these new
performance standards. It also codifies that "pay for performance" and "Race to the Top"-type competitive
grants will partially fund undergraduate education.
3) The legislation conspicuously leaves out faculty and students representatives when discussing the
composition of the Commission. It prohibits any one from serving on the commission who has, within the
past 5 years, served on a governing board for, been an employee of, or has an immediate family member
who has been an employee of, a public institution of higher learning.
4) It intimates, and in a few places outright declares, that the purpose of higher education in the state is to
support the state's economic interests, or to serve the business community.
5) It discusses "diversity" in very narrow terms. It briefly mentions "blacks" and "women" as minority
groups that need to be represented in the composition of the commission, but makes no attempt to
connect diversity with any educational/institutional goals.
6) There are several examples of legislative interference with an institution's ability to determine its
mission. Tries to make the commission the body responsible for determining institutional priorities and
defining "academic quality".
7) Legislatively mandates post-tenure review for tenured faculty; intrudes into institutional and faculty
prerogatives like faculty compensation, class sizes/ratios, mandates for performance reviews, availability
to students outside of the classroom.
8) Includes a mandate that public colleges and universities cooperate and collaborate with private
industry, but does not include an explanation.
9) Attempts to evaluate institutions and programs by using data that is tenuously (at best) related to
program quality, such as employer feedback on graduates who were employed or not employed; scores
of graduates on post-undergraduate professional, graduate, or employment-related examinations and
10) Requires the state to evaluate institutions based on "financial support for reform in teacher
education". No further explanation.
11) Creates multiple avenues for administrative and legislative overreaching into the state's public
institutions of higher education and their policies, programs, curricula, facilities, and financing.
Please feel free to follow up about this particular model legislation, a specific state's higher education
system, or this new crop of "bill mills" like ALEC and AEI.