Outcome-based budget won’t serve students

November 21, 2014 / Phil Lesch

The Register Guard
November 16th, 2014
Ramin Farahmandpur

Money — how it’s raised, how it’s budgeted and what it buys — has been the silent driver of education reform across this nation for more than a decade. Now, with state funding for public higher education in post-­recessionary decline, most institutions have been forced to raise college tuition, cut back on academic programs, privatize services and seek new revenue streams, including from private foundations and corporate sponsors. Insidiously, another “innovation” in education money matters is “performance” or “outcomes-based” funding.

Amid the chatter about top-to-bottom reform in Oregon, one missing link is consideration of its mission. Here’s what the statutes say higher education’s tasks are: to deliver high-quality education; to prepare students for a democratic society; and to contribute to the economic, cultural and civic advancement of the state. Years of disinvestment have undermined these aims, as Oregon’s rank of 47 among states in funding attests.

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