The most interesting, and telling, comments on higher education spending and policy were from Democrat candidate for Governor Bill White, in a Q and A piece that ran in several Texas newspapers this past weekend.
Democrats have been, joined by a few conservatives, pushing for the end of college tuition deregulation in Texas. Democrats have been criticizing Governor Perry for this action of the Legislature, which he did support, for some time. But, when asked specifically about the issue of tuition affordability, Democrat Bill White did not even mention the tuition deregulation issue. Instead he simply said “I will work to make both two-year and four-year programs more affordable,” without providing anything but gimmicks about textbooks to explain how he would accomplish such a goal.
There was another very troubling answer from White on the subject of creating more so-called Tier 1 research institutions in the state. He did not say anything to endorse the current plan but instead sounded the part of the elitist PUF fund defender at the expense of everyone else.
White was asked how Texas should work toward the goal of creating more Tier 1 universities and he made this specific statement among little else: “…we should not cannibalize existing Tier 1 institutions such as The University of Texas and Texas A&M.”
The plan in-place, enabled by a statewide vote of Texans, has nothing to do with cannibalizing A&M and UT. White had nothing, zero, supportive to say about Texas Tech, University of Houston and others gaining Tier 1 status. But, he had everything to say about protecting A&M and UT as the only elite schools. That should be troubling to all Texans.
Robert Pratt is host of the top-rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at www.PrattonTexas.com