McCrory calls for change to higher education

Gov. Pat McCrory visted campus last semester and spoke before Paul Ryan. -Drew Carter | The East Carolinian

Last Tuesday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said the “educational elite” have taken over colleges and he said worthless courses offer “no chances of getting people jobs,” according to the Huffington Post.

In the brief 10-minute interview with talk show host Bill Bennett–the former education secretary of President Regan–McCrory said he has already instructed his staff to begin writing legislation that will change the way money is given to universities and community colleges.            “Right now, we pay based upon how many students you have, not on the results of how many jobs you’re getting people into,” McCrory said in his interview with Bennett. “I’m looking at legislation right now–in fact, I just instructed my staff yesterday to go ahead and develop legislation–which would change the basic formula in how education money is given out to our universities and our community colleges. It’s not based on butts in seats, but on how many of those butts can get jobs.”

McCrory specifically targeted the degree in gender studies and classes learning Swahili offered at UNC-Chapel Hill, explaining he does not think tax dollars should be used to help fund these types of courses.

“If you want to take a gender studies that’s fine. Go to a private school, and take it,” McCrory said in the interview. “But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”

Gender studies professor Corinee Guy said she was somewhat taken aback by the governor’s comments.

“I know that cuts have to be made, but I am disappointed that he chose to single out gender studies the way that he did,” Guy said. “I think that cutting them out would be a step back for women and for men as well.”

There are six men enrolled in Guy’s gender studies course this semester and she believes the course helps to give them, as well as the women enrolled, a voice. Gov. McCrory’s remarks come from the problem that North Carolina is the fifth highest in the nation for unemployment.            On the governor’s official web page, his plan for higher education states that the McCrory administration will work with education and business leaders to make sure our community colleges and universities more effectively and efficiently help North Carolinians complete a degree program to attain marketable skills, find a job and help grow our economy.             Karen Bartlett a senior hospitality leadership major thinks that the governor’s plan could benefit students.

“That’s smart. I know in my department they do no job placement at all,” said Bartlett. “It’d be nice to see the state take a step towards helping students find work after they graduate. Not only do you get a degree, but they help you find a job as well.”

Some students were not so pleased over the governor’s comments. Kirstie Miles, a family and community service major, believes that this is not fair to the students who are in these programs. “That is not okay because everyone can’t afford to go to private schools. You’re making them pay more to take something that should be offered everywhere,” said Miles.

The governor spoke at a Rocky Mount Area Chamber event last Thursday where he used lighter words to defend the remarks he made two days prior. In an article from the Charlotte Observer, McCrory stands behind what he said about pushing universities and community colleges to provide students with courses that will help them find employment.

“I believe education is for two purposes. One is to help exercise the brain and get good critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and understand our past and our future. And the second reason is to teach us skills that will also help us get jobs,” Gov. McCrory said to Bennett.

This writer can be contacted at news@theeastcarolinan.com.

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