Swickard: It isn't smart to be that stupid

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “Stupid is as stupid does.” Forest Gump
            Sometimes there is a fine line between genius and stupid so it’s hard to know which it is. But with New Mexico the mantra for the state is: let’s always do the stupid thing. Shuckins.
            In a state dead last in education it would seem to call for a change, but no. In a state that is the only state in the Sun Belt to be losing citizens it would seem to call for a change, but no. In a state with institutions of higher learning losing students it would seem to call for a change, alas, but no.
            Let’s start with the colleges. Most have been having financial difficulties because their student population is dropping. Concurrently that have raised the cost of attendance dramatically. At New Mexico State University in 1993 the cost of Tuition and Fees was under $600 a semester. Twenty-five years later it is around $3,000 a semester.
            This is important since some jobs will only pay about $18,000 a year. The cost of getting a degree becomes a limiting factor. Certainly not so with Electrical Engineers but when five years cost $6,000 in tuition and fees, any degree was fine. Make that cost $30,000 and some graduates will have trouble making ends meet.
            The population at these colleges is dropping. That should signal to drop the cost of tuition and fees to get students back. Instead, they are raising the cost of attendance. It isn’t smart to be that stupid.
            In a state that is in a budget crisis because oil and gas is much lower and the state is losing businesses and citizens the idea of increasing taxes should be labeled as a stupid thing to do. But no, that is the solution which of course won’t work long because more businesses and citizens will leave the state. Sad.
            Finally, in education all of the high powered smart people who have screwed up the New Mexico public schools are doubling down on bad advice. Again sad. What the public schools need to do is release so much administration and experts while going back to the teachers.
            The research is compelling that all of these supposedly new programs are nothing but educational fads which have not worked in the past, will not work now and sadly, when the experts try to use them in the future they will not work then. Over the last fifty years there are many fads that experts bring back to not work again.
            New Mexico has many very smart people but the leaders are not listening. To get students back in New Mexico colleges these colleges must be student centered. They are administration centered now and that why every solution does not work. Same in the legislature and in the public schools.
            After the next few years of stuff not working could we have a moratorium of stupid in the state? Just a few years of doing intelligent things would be so welcome.