AUSTIN—The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education today issued a statement in response to the Governor’s office’s criticism of the newly issued report, Maintaining Excellence and Efficiency at The University of Texas at Austin:
“It’s unfortunate that the same week that the University of Texas at Austin’s President Powers announced a major initiative to improve college graduation rates, Governor Perry’s spokesman chose to denigrate Texas universities rather than support their efforts to improve and reform. As the Coalition has said repeatedly, the question is not whether higher education needs to improve, but how to effect change in a constructive way that strengthens quality rather than undermines it. Interestingly, the statement from the Governor’s office never mentions educational quality, which is vital for Texas students, businesses and the economic development and growth of our state. By choosing to discount a scientific and research-based analysis of proposals that threaten to undermine the quality of higher education in Texas, the Governor’s spokesman creates the impression that his efforts are about scoring political points rather than improving higher education.
“If Governor Perry truly wants to reduce costs and improve productivity of higher education in Texas, he should start by focusing on improving the college readiness of Texas students. Unfortunately, Texas ranks a dismal 36th in the nation for high school graduation rates and 50th for percentage of Texans with a high school diploma. Today, Texas taxpayers are being double-charged—first to fund high school, then to fund remedial programs when students are unprepared to succeed in college.
“According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, both UT-Austin and Texas A&M consistently rank at the top of the list for six-year graduation rates with approximately 84 percent graduating in six-years from both institutions. Our Texas public higher education institutions are committed to ensuring that college students earn degrees that equip them to be leaders in the global economy and the Coalition unwaveringly supports these efforts.”
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