Texas, Part II: are we really so bad at explaining education to the doubters?
Here is a statement attributed to Texas Governor Rick Perry regarding higher education research: he and others are said to be wondering ‘whether there’s a need for more critiques of Shakespeare and other esoteric research that doesn’t generate income for the state.’
This is said to have ‘stirred a tempest on Texas campuses’. It is easy to see that it would, but the problem may be that many people don’t understand why research is funded, and universities have not been particularly good at making the case in all circumstances other than where research specifically addresses a very practical need. This extends beyond research, because if Governor Perry believes that Shakespeare doesn’t merit further research, he may not think much of his plays being taught either.
The case for higher education, and the capacity for diversity within, need to be re-explained to the wider public, urgently.