This week in government waste

March 7, 2011

One is tempted to blog this week about the seven school systems, seven superintendents, and seven administrative staffs—in one Oklahoma town of fewer than 4,000 people. But that would just be too easy, now wouldn’t it?

So let us turn our attention from common education to higher education. I have previously argued that policymakers should spend less, not more, on higher education, and indeed today Moody's Investors Service is releasing a report predicting that higher-ed cost-cutting measures may be necessary. Moreover, according to a new survey released today by SoonerPoll, Oklahoma voters believe that the state’s colleges and universities can be run more efficiently. One is reminded of the acclaimed professor Dan Aykroyd.

The SoonerPoll survey also informs us that 63 percent of Oklahomans believe professors should be paid based on how much teaching they do, especially how many students they teach. (Only 25 percent disagree with that idea.) I doubt most taxpayers would be thrilled to know they’re getting up and going to work every day so that part of their paycheck can be used to subsidize a professor doing, umm, research entitled “Towards Queering Food Studies: Foodways, Heteronormativity, and Hungry Women in Chicana Lesbian Writing.” (I’m sure that’s fascinating, Professor, but please do it on your own nickel.) Oklahoma taxpayers deserve to get their money’s worth, says OCPA distinguished fellow J. Rufus Fears, and that means teaching large numbers of undergraduates.