Monday, January 26, 2015

WI tech leader hopes Walker's UW overhaul not punitive

I was struck by a few lines in Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still's weekend column about budget and structural changes which Scott Walker apparently intends to send the UW system's way.

The Council is a non-partisan, non-profit amalgamation of private and public sector sector groups and networks that advise government and promote science and technology advancement in Wisconsin.

I suggest you read the piece in full, but I'll excerpt just a few lines that caught my attention.

The second paragraph: 
Here’s hoping the debate is an honest effort to improve the performance, accessibility and accountability of the state’s largest higher education system, not a political exercise driven by perception rather than fact.
The close:
The coming debate will test whether the Capitol wants to reform higher education in Wisconsin or punish it. The former is an ambitious goal; the latter could harm efforts to build Wisconsin’s knowledge-based economy.
And, finally, these two remarkable paragraphs in the middle of the piece which shed light on Wisconsin's brain drain and could frame the "honest" debate which Still is hoping for:
A recent report by the Milken Institute noted that Wisconsin is already 37th in state support for higher education among the 50 states and 31st in state spending on student aid. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ranked Wisconsin 47th in the percentage decline in higher education spending from 2008 through 2013. It’s hard to build a stay-at-home, knowledge economy workforce without investing in young people. While most research dollars come from external sources – federal government, private foundations and private industry – state dollars help pay for the basics that attract outside dollars.
Reports show that college graduates in Wisconsin can expect to earn less than their counterparts elsewhere, which makes it harder to keep the best and brightest home. For example, average engineer salaries for job postings in Wisconsin are 11 percent lower than average engineer salaries nationwide, according to January data from Wisconsin companies might want to consider paying what it takes to attract and retain talent versus blaming the UW System for not launching duplicative engineering programs.

1 comment:

Max B. said...

The "brain drain" may also be attributable to the toxic atmosphere created by WMC, the legislature, and the Governor that dismisses and devalues: the arts, education itself, public transportation, diversity, all things "urban" and other public services and offerings such as parks--in short, all of the things that young people look for in a community.