Kirk: Suggests College Coordina
then You Need.
By RUSSELL KIRK
Today Michigan has no public
educational system; rather it has
thousands of schools, three uni-
versities, four teachers' colleges
called universities, and a string
of lesser state educational insti-
It has a state superintendent of
public instruction, a State Board
of Education, three separate
boards of regents or trustees for
the three universities, lesser boards
for the lesser institutions. Most
local tax money goesfor schools,
and an immense chunk of thei
state sales tax is divided among
school districts. What results from
this complexity is not an educa-
tional system, however, but almost
Herethe constitutional conven-
tion has a grand opportunity to
introduce order into public in-
struction in Michigan - and with
order, improved quality and effi-
ciency. It can provide for co-
ordination without oppressive cen-
tralization. It can prevent dupli-
cation of function. It can raise
standards in the schools by link-
ingsthem with the universities and and California. These regent
colleges. should be appointed by the gover
I suggest the following general nor for lengthy, staggered terms
provisions for inclusion in the new yr perhaps half the members o
constitution. They are fairly sim- the board should be elected fo
ilar to present arrangements in similar terms. They would exercise
the states of New York and Cali- supervisory jurisdiction over stat
fornia, and so already have been universities, colleges and all pub
tested. More, they are consonant lic elementary and secondar
with the original plan for public schools.
education in Michigan conceived This provision would abolish th
by the founders of the University. existing State Board of Educatior
First, there should be establish- the office of superintendent o
ed a general governing board for public instruction, and the gov
all public education, possibly to be erning boards of the universitie
called the board of regents, similar and colleges.
to such authorities in New York Boards Elected
__________________________ At present, all members of thes
The two articles reprinted boards, and the state superin
here from recent issues of the tendent, are elected by state-wid
Ann Arbor News represent the popular vote; and not one vote
arguments for and against the in a hundred has the faintest no
proposal to place all higher ed- tion of who the candidates are o
ucation in Michigan under the of their qualifications.
control of a 'super-board.' Fav- Second, the powers of local ant
oring the proposal is noted con- county school boards should be af
servative educator, writer and firmed in the constitution: thei
editor Russell Kirk of Mecosta. continued control over finance
Speaking against it is Univer- buildings, employment and dis
sity President Harlan Hatcher. charge of officials and teacherE
and curriculum. This would prb
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