Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Penn State Recognized as One of the Nation's Premier Public Universities

The Education Trust has released a report entitled Engines of Inequality: Diminishing Equality in the Nation's Premier Public Universities. When asked about the report Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon, speaking on behalf of Penn State president Graham Spanier, said, "President Spanier is very happy to see than Penn State is receiving the recognition it deserves as premier public university." He went on to note that. "every Penn Stater should be proud to be included on list which includes such well respected schools as Berkeley and theUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison."

Fine, Mahon didn't really say that. I was just trying to imagine how the Old Mainpropaganda machine was going to spin the dismal news that Penn State received so many F grades and an overall grade of an F on this report card which gauges how well Flagship schools fulfill an important aspect of their mission:access to higher education by the disadvantaged.

One measure used in this study was the ratio of the percentage of Pell Grant awarded at a school to overall percentage of Pell Grant awarded in the home state of the school. Schools for which this ratio was less than or equal to .69 were deemed to have flunked this test. Penn State flunked. Compare this to the fact that Spanier makes a big deal out of Penn State's mission as Land-Grant University. For example, here is what he had to say on the occasion of Penn State one hundred fiftieth anniversary.

The Farmer’s High School, which you now know as Penn State,
became the national model for the land-grant university –created by
an act of Congress in 1862.

Before the establishment of land-grant schools, a college education
was out of reach to all but the children of the well heeled. Many
of you in this Rotunda, including many of you whose names are on
the House and Senate resolutions to my left and right, are, like me,
children of immigrants who would not have been able to benefit
from higher education if not for the creation of public colleges that
have grown out of the land-grant movement.

While the term ‘land-grant’ may be a throw back to an earlier time,
its place today in American higher education is anything but
archaic. The fundamental concept is to provide a diverse program of studies that is financially accessible to a broad segment of the population, and to make new knowledge available for the public good. That concept is as pertinent today as it was in 1855.

Under Spanier's leadership Penn State has failed to serve this aspect of its mission.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

powered by performancing firefox

No comments: