Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A couple rays of light 

It was, by any measure, a dark evening for conservatives last night, and no amount of grading on the curve of six-year-second -term-party-of -the-incumbent changes that fact. But not everything went poorly for those of us in higher education. And that's not just because the Democrats in charge are likely to throw more money at the middle class entitlement that is higher ed.

In Michigan, Proposal 2, the measure that bans the use of affirmative action programs to create preferential programs based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin -- including in admissions or in financial aid for higher education -- passed with 58% of the vote. The link goes to the all-but-official daily of the higher education establishment, which is of course pitching a fit over its passage.

Becky Timmons, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Education, called the measure's passage "a serious setback to the goal of equal educational opportunity."

"It will not level the playing field, as some who voted for it may believe," Ms. Timmons said. "Instead, it will effectively tie the hands of Michigan's public colleges in their attempts to encourage broader participation in higher education by women and minorities."

The paper goes on to call Michigan "one of the nation's most segregated states." The rest of the article is equal in its contempt for voters.

It turns around and rejoices, however, when voters in three states rejected spending limitations or voted for bonds that increased spending. (The one in Maine looked this morning to be too close to call.) The unmistakeable message is "we want your money, as much as possible, and no strings attached because you're not smart enough to tell us how to spend it, and besides, you're all bigots." There was a second proposal in Michigan that would have increased spending on public schools and colleges and required the amount paid to be indexed to inflation. It was turned down. That's a defeat for the Chronicle, but the paper considers it a victory in Rhode Island to use tobacco tax revenue for college scholarships.