No Sleep 'Til Tenure
Top 10 percent survives, but academic reformers may have a new target.
By Richard Whittaker,
1:16PM, Mon. May 28, 2007
Top 10% has survived another session, but it could become a punching bag in another fight over the future of Texas higher education.
Senate Bill 101, which would have killed the university diversity measure, came to a crashing halt Sunday night when it went down 64-75 in the House. Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, has been the rule's most bullish defender in the House Higher Education Committee and has pointedly rejected claims that it ill serves rural communities. In fact, her constant arguments over rival analyses of the data with committee Chair Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, have made the normally dry Higher Ed worth turning up for with popcorn and a soda. However, it was left to Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, to lead the final charge against the bill. In his spirited defense, he said the problem was not that it filled too many places but that there weren't enough places to fill.
His solution? Longer university hours. The has been a sessionlong bugbear of Rep. Fred Brown, R-Bryan, who has constantly bemoaned the fact that many teaching rooms at institutions like UT are empty much of the day. He argues that colleges should schedule classes at nights and weekends, filling up these rooms.
Of course, this ignores the facts that many rooms may be very specialized lab space or are being staffed by teaching assistants rather than by lecturers: Many lecturers split their time between lecture rooms and their smaller offices but are still working more than the average workweek. Meanwhile, no one seems to be suggesting any extra cash to hire more staff to actually fill those new hours.
So do Brown, Alonzo, et al. seriously think that Texas academics should be split into night and day shifts?