With the Big Three seeking a bailout from Washington, the Big Ten are following suit. Earlier this week the Carnegie Corporation of New York took out a two-page ad in the New York Times, signed by executives of 36 public universities, state university systems and higher-education associations, urging Congress and President-elect Obama to rescue them.Even though it might endanger my current job*, I would love to see a lot of colleges in the same about-to-be-reorganized position as the Big 3 are right now. As important as education is, it is not helped as much as its backers claim by completely separating it from market realities. Colleges should not all be business schools or even businesses; on the other hand, it is hard to argue that an organization that takes taxpayer funds to provide young people with women's studies degrees is not doing both its students and its patrons a very expensive, almost GM-ish, disservice.
* though not as much as one would expect. Less reliance on state funding makes my work more important, not less. Still, layoffs are not always rational cost/benefit decisions.