The Race to the Bottom Accelerates! | WisCommunity

The Race to the Bottom Accelerates!

Boom in Academic Poaching Is Fueled by Visions of Economic Development - Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 2015

 This is the headline in the current issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.  It describes the current activities around the country to enhance economic development by investing in research and higher education.

The lead story in the Chronicle of Higher Education today describes how other states are using investment in research universities as an integral part of their economic development strategies. The leading sentence tells it all,

 “A $250-million spending spree has lured more than 80 top cancer researchers to institutions in Texas, and other states are following suit. What are the implications of an arms race for research talent?”

In the meantime, the ALEC Republicans in Wisconsin have reduced the university budget by $250 million.  While other states (and countries) are racing to the top by investing in higher education and research, Wisconsin is racing to the bottom.  And, thanks to Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling, the Bradley Foundation, the WMC, the ALEC Republicans, and the Koch Brothers, Wisconsin is winning that race to the bottom.

This is no accident, the legislation of the Koch/ALEC Republicans is deliberatly crafted to lower wages and create an uneducated submissive workforce.  

When Scott Walker became Governor of Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin at Madison was ranked as the 17th best research university in the World by the prestigious Shanghai Jiao Tong University World University Rankings.  Once a university has reached such international prestige, its academic and research momentum tends to keep it on top unless there is some intervening tragedy.  The ranking of the University of Wisconsin at Madison during Walkers administration has been as follows;

Before Walker:            2010     17th

During Walker              2011    19th

                                    2012    19th

                                    2013    19th

                                    2014    24th

This drop from 17th to 24th has occurred before the current reduction in funding and weakening of tenure.  Just as it took several years for the impact of Walker’s first budgets to negatively affect the ranking of the university, the current attack on the UW system by the Republicans will be reflected in a further reduction in the university ranking in the future.


July 23, 2015 - 10:36am