Higher Education

People Who Live in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones

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(NOTE: at a future date we plan to address the substance of the op ed referred to below by Anthony Davies and a co-author in more detail.)

So, this is rich: in an op ed critiquing our Pennsylvania Promise free tuition (not free college) proposal, Anthony Davies and a co-author snidely say “we use the term loosely” after describing the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center as “think tanks.” 

Why is this rich? Because Davies is the guy who wrote multiple papers for conservative “think tanks“ with flawed statistics claiming to show that states which have not privatized alcohol distribution (like Pennsylvania) have HIGHER traffic fatalities. 

The Pennsylvania Promise - Affordable College for all Pennsylvanians

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Pennsylvania is barreling towards a future where only the descendants of the well-off will have access to quality higher education. Or perhaps we are already there. See the figure below, which shows high performing, high-income youth are more likely (74%) than high scoring, low-income youth (41%) to complete college (columns in blue):

The State System of Higher Education: Pennsylvania’s Mobility Workhorses

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Pennsylvania’s 14 State System of Higher Education Universities are instrumental to economic opportunity in Pennsylvania. They afford a large number of middle- and working-class Pennsylvanians an affordable shot at the American Dream of upward mobility.

Our analysis of data from the Mobility Report Cards finds that 41% of State System students from 1999 to 2004 were working-class students with family incomes that placed them in the bottom 60% of households. As a point of comparison, in the state’s 10 most elite universities just 18% of students come from the bottom 60% (more than 2/3 come from the top 20%).

Pennsylvania Needs to Stop Shortchanging Its Future and Invest Smartly in Higher Education

While there's been a lot of focus recently on K-12 school funding cuts in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania higher education has experienced even larger state funding cuts in percentage terms. Pennsylvania's starting point for investing in higher education, moreover, was already near the bottom.

The list of poor rankings that reflect Pennsylvania's underinvestment in higher education is somewhat mind blowing.

For example, Pennsylvania is 48th for investment in higher education per capita.

Pittsburgh Again on the Forefront of Labor Innovation to Build the Next Middle Class

WESA in Pittsburgh has a radio feature airing today on union organizing among contingent faculty in higher education. It includes some excerpts from an interview with me. You can listen to it and access a transcript here.

Punxsutawney Phil and Governor Corbett

I published a commentary this week on Governor Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal this week in the Allentown Morning Call. Check it out.

Punxsutawney Phil is predicting more chilly weather ahead, but a winter-weary Gov. Tom Corbett must have spring on his mind. His budget address Tuesday painted a bright and rosy picture of Pennsylvania's future even as we remain in the grip of a long economic winter.

What's in the Governor's 2014-15 Budget?

General Fund Spending: 2014-15 Executive BudgetGovernor Tom Corbett has proposed a 2014-15 state General Fund budget that would spend $29.4 billion, $927 million, or 3.3%, more than the current fiscal year.

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