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CHAPTER 2. CURRENT PROBLEMS
The Master Planning Commission has conducted studies in the areas of student needs and aspirations, enrollment projections and corresponding budget requirements, alternative institutional systems, long-range needs of the economy, critical social, economic and political factors, in addition to analyzing the existing system projected into the future, as described in Chapter 1. The MPC also has met with interested groups and persons and has consulted with widely recognized authorities from the fields of labor, business and education. The various findings and inputs were weighed and a consensus concerning the state of affairs of postsecondary education in Kansas has been reached.
The MPC concludes that the state and its citizenry generally are well served by postsecondary education. However, it also finds significant areas of serious weakness. This chapter focuses on the areas of concern in order that they may serve as points of reference in the development of a philosophy and a series of recommendations for strengthening postsecondary education in the years to come. Some of the concerns are summarized in the following sections.
LACK OF STATEWIDE PLANNING
There has been very little significant coordination among individual Kansas postsecondary institutions or among types of institutions. The attempts made have been sporadic and confined to levels or types of postsecondary education. The breadth of such activities has not taken into account the total needs of the state and its citizenry. The existing postsecondary system does not fully reflect such factors as educational aspirations of all Kansans, manpower needs of the state, economic development of the state, projected economic conditions affecting employment, social needs, better and more efficient use of human and natural resources and consumer needs of the citizenry. A reasonable choice of educational programs to be pursued, as well as a convenient location, has not been available to all Kansans interested in postsecondary education.
The Legislature showed that it was acutely aware of the need for postsecondary education planning when it created the Master Planning Commission. It rightly assumed that insufficient coordination existed relative to articulation between the secondary and postsecondary programs especially in the vocational-technical occupation areas. The Legislature also recognized the artificial
separation that often exists between academic and vocational studies. Although the Board of Regents and the State Board of Education have some distinct responsibilities, they also share responsibilities on many fronts, sometimes resulting in competition for available state dollars. These and related problem areas can not be fully explored without continuous planning.
PROLIFERATION OF INSTITUTIONS
The number of postsecondary institutions exceeds that required to adequately serve the needs of the state. As a result of this proliferation, the following problem areas are not uncommon: (1) needless competition for students and revenue, (2) unneccessary duplication of courses and programs, (3) limited program offerings in some institutions and (4) inefficiencies due to failure to achieve economies of scale.
LACK OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL KANSANS
A person's ability to contribute to society requires different kinds of skill: working with ideas, working with things, and working with people. To help individuals find their place in the working world, the postsecondary educational system should provide opportunities for adults to acquire saleable skills in one or more of these three categories. Despite the abundance of colleges and vocational schools, the postsecondary needs of many Kansans are not being met. Broad educational opportunities are severely limited in urban areas, particularly for members of minority segments of the population. Others whose postsecondary needs are not being adequately provided for include veterans, adults, handicapped, disadvantaged and other persons with obsolete or otherwise nonsaleable skills.
Kansas' greatest resource has been and will continue to be, its people. Without the application of their vision, talents, skills and energies, Kansas' other resources are relatively useless.
The value of an educated citizenry can not be measured in terms of economics alone. However, the current mismatch between the product of the postsecondary system and the demands of the market place has reached a magnitude where training for employability must be given more consideration. The large number of persons educated for professional positions who are finding difficulty obtaining employment in their field is costly in terms of time, energy, selfworth, financial resources and unfulfilled needs of the economy.
Many employers contribute to the overemphasis on four-year and graduate education by using degrees and diplomas, even though they may be irrelevant for the job requirements, as a filtering system for selection of employees. This is not to discount the great value to society of the non-vocational curricula offered in our colleges and universities on which society depends for much of its innovation and statesmanship. The present concern is with the overemphasis on degree-producing studies which has resulted in a poor match between manpower supply and demand.
A quantification of the mismatch between supply and demand is presented in Table 5.
DUAL SYSTEM OF ACADEMIC AND OCCUPATIONAL EDUCATION
There should no longer be any controversy as to whether these two kinds of curricula should exist in one kind of institution or in separate, different kinds of institutions. Life has become more complex and rapid technological change has caused drastic reductions in opportunities for unskilled workers accompanied by comparable increases in the need for professional, technical, and skilled personnel. It is evident that Kansas cannot afford to treat academic and occupational education as distinct and separate entities.
The arguments for discontinuance of the dual system are concerned with: (1) excessive costs for unnecessary duplication of services, staffing, equipment and facilities, (2) low institutional enrollments, (3) reduction of articulation and planning among the elements of postsecondary education, (4) limited selection of occupational programs precluding the offering of programs which require substantial cognitive training (e.g., registered nursing and engineering technology), (5) segregation of students on an educational basis, and (6) the use of dissimilar record systems (e.g., clock hours vs. credit hours). The most serious concern is that the divided system has lowered both the status and the effectiveness of occupational education in Kansas.
DECLINING ENROLLMENTS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR
The continuing enrollment trend away from the private college (see Figure 2, Chapter 1), is strong enough to seriously reduce the impact of the private institution in Kansas postsecondary education. As projected in Chapter 1, private college enrollments will be down substantially during the 1970's - a period when public enrollments will increase.
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COMPARISON OF NUMBER OF JOB OPENINGS
*Relative to "demand", region is where job openings existed; relative to "supply", region is where graduate attended high school prior to attending postsecondary institution. In interpreting and assessing these data, it is necessary to take into account out-of-state supply and demand conditions as they relate to Kansas graduates and to the Kansas job market.
**Region 1A consists of two geographically separated subregions.
This poses a problem in identifying the role of private institutions, describing their relationship to public institutions and establishing an adequate financial base.
A major problem is the lack of uniformity in the distribution of state and local taxes. Related problems include insufficient revenue to adequately support needed educational programs and rising tuition and fee costs for students. The substantial differences in the percentage of state aid among the types of public institutions are unjustified and are not in the best interest of the state. As a result of insufficient funding, the more costly programs, such as occupational training and education for the disadvantaged and handicapped, have been deemphasized. The budgetary projections of Chapter 1 indicate the problem will become more severe during this decade. In order to maintain the current level of program emphasis, and to serve a modest increase in student enrollments, the revenue required to support the statewide operating budget will nearly double between 1970 and 1980.
INADEQUATE MEASURES OF PERFORMANCE
Never before in the history of postsecondary education in the United States has the focus on accountability been so intense. Selfexamination has been forced upon educational institutions of learning by alienated students, disaffected faculty, dissatisfied legislators, disenchanted alumni and disappointed parents who are challenging the present system of postsecondary education. As a result, there is a growing reluctance by state, federal and private sources to finance postsecondary education. Costs are climbing steadily, while income from all sources is increasing too slowly to meet the demands of education.
Despite increased concern for accountability, there is still a widespread lack of meaningful assessment of postsecondary education. One of the primary reasons for this failure has been the placement of evaluative emphasis on the processes of education. The state should be more concerned with the measurement of educational achievement in relation to state and student priorities and goals.
The other deterrent to an effective process of evaluation is the lack of a uniform data base. At present, there is no standardized data collection system that cuts across all of postsecondary education. This also precludes the implementation of program budgeting.