Florida Gov. Rick Scott gave us a taste of discussions to come. The Republican proposes "shifting funding to degrees that have the best job prospects, weeding out unproductive professors and rethinking the system that offers faculty job security," wrote Zac Anderson in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Is this the beginning of politicians taking on college tenure? They have certainly taken strides to do this in the K-12 sector with considerable success as evidenced in our state with the mandated evaluation system currently being forced on all school systems. I would think that it will be more difficult in the college world because of the well entrenched practice. I also don't believe that the federal government has the same leverage with colleges as they have with public schools because of our reliance on federal funding for title and special needs funding. Even given the current reality, however, once they decide to take it on my sense is that they won't let go.
At some point in time legislators at all levels will need to come to the realization that you cannot mandate change that sustains through laws and policies. People change when there is a shared vision of a better outcome and the support structures to provide knowledge, practice, and feedback are in place. It requires a culture that embraces the need for learning and change not one that continually wonders what will "they" do to us and demand of us next. Identify stable standards, provide the revenue for the necessary support and we can produce without the need for pressure from the political establishment.