Friday, July 20, 2012

New Initiatives with Less Funding

Kim Wilmath of the Tampa Bay Times posted a story on the newspaper's Gradebook blog about the state hiring a consultant to look into ways to expand the state's postsecondary online education options.

 An outside consultant has been hired by the Florida Board of Governors to study ways to expand online learning in the state university system. 
The Parthenon Group, with offices in Boston, London, Mumbai and San Francisco, was chosen out of seven companies who bid on the $270,000 project. That money was appropriated to the board during the last legislative session, the board announced Thursday.
The study follows a suggestion by incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford that the state look into adding a new, all online university to the state.

Florida has already cut $289 million from the higher education budget for the upcoming academic year. Despite this, the state managed to allow the Lakeland branch of the Tampa's University of South Florida to become its own independent university now known as Florida Polytechnic University. Now, the state is hiring a consultant to review the expansion of postsecondary online learning options with the ultimate goal of creating a thirteenth state university that will be completely online? Florida sure does love piling on new initiatives and requirements in education without providing the means to fund them. Why couldn't the money that may eventually be spent to create a thirteenth university be invested in expanding the existing universities' online learning options? This option seems to be the better move. 

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