Viewpoint - Mississippi's Higher Education Dilemma - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Viewpoint - Mississippi's Higher Education Dilemma

When hard economic times hit, higher education in Mississippi suffers.  


When you have a state with not only a low population base…but one of the poorest in the nation…it becomes crucial to examine your priorities.   We have to look at things in the light of efficientcy and pragmatism and not get caught up with passions and sacred cows.  With 8 state supported major 4-year instutions of higher learning serving a limited number of people…it may be time to talk seriously about consolidation.   There is no doubt that we have numerous examples of duplication of efforts and programs at the various institutions.   Some may need to be closed or down-sized while others may need to be supplimented and expanded.  Now i realize this is an emotionally charged subject and every school is special to those who have gone there.   No one should be faulted for exhibiting love and loyalty to their alma mater.   But we have to look forward—not backward—if we are going to do what is best and most expediate to maintain a viable and affordable state supported system of higher learning for the leaders of tomorrow.    The future belongs to future generations.   We cherish and learn from the past and draw strength and wisdom from our traditions and heritage.   Unfortunately that may not provide us with the best formula and efficientcies going forward.  No politician wants to touch this subject with a 1-foot pole.   There are virtually no votes to gain…and plenty to lose.   But we bury our heads in the sand at the price of the most affordable and best education possible with the resources we have if we don’t start having dispassionate discussions about how best to serve the needs of the generations of the future.  

I’m Jim Cameron…let us hear what you think.


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