But for every ill-conceived policy Brownback has recently been associated with, it seems like his approach to universities in Kansas deserves some praise and some suspicion as well.
Brownback toured a few colleges and universities over the last week promoting his stable funding proposal for higher education. He made a point to mention the proposed cuts in higher education from the legislature. The term “momentum killer” was used several times.
On face, it seems like Brownback is standing up against his party. Republicans tend to disagree with Brownback on state funding for public universities. Brownback wants stable funding, and leading Republicans want cuts.
But Brownback’s “Roadmap For Kansas,” the document detailing his platform for higher education, further distances Kansas from the humanities and liberal arts. It focuses primarily on economically productive disciplines, like engineering, science and technology.
In response to The Bulletin’s question regarding his office’s stance toward humanities and liberal arts, Brownback said, “It supports all of it.”
Why, then, aren’t those disciplines mentioned in the “Roadmap For Kansas?” It seems clear that Brownback’s history of indifference toward the arts is being put on display.
His proposed funding calls for augmented allocations toward needed programs. Don’t be surprised if glass blowing, communication, history or English are not considered worthy for those allocations.
Brownback wants to create a self-sufficient and economically viable higher education atmosphere in Kansas, and he apparently does not feel arts fall into that purview.
But there is more to education than what we can financially squeeze out of it. When we consider English and communication expendable, we sacrifice the building blocks of our social and political lives.
The Bulletin hopes that Brownback is successful in stemming the tide against higher education in general. We ask students who find value in programs ignored by Brownback’s “Roadmap For Kansas” to speak up and make a case for their inclusion in his crusade.
Kansans will find a way to be economically competitive. It’s in our nature. The threat, then, is not on our pocket books, but in our freedom to explore the full breadth of higher education.