Though this story comes out of Texas, it’s not really about Texas. It’s about the liberal elitists and their attitude toward those who question them. In this specific case, Democrat state Sen. Judith Zaffirini would have you know that the status quo in higher education is just fine, thankyouverymuch, and if you don’t agree, you’re just not as smart as she is. The problem is you, not her, as she is more than happy to inform you.
QUESTION: Perry graduated from A&M, which initially embraced the “reforms” (although A&M Systems Chancellor Mike McKinney faced a firestorm and resigned last week). Does Perry have something against UT?
ZAFFIRINI: Rick Perry doesn’t understand higher education. He doesn’t have a graduate degree, and he graduated a long time ago with a major in something like agriculture. I have a PhD, so I understand the value of research and teaching. He just doesn’t understand it. In the legislature, we’re used to dealing with regents who love their universities, who bleed orange or red or whatever their colors. These new regents appointed by Perry don’t seem to have any school spirit. They seem suspicious and cynical. They haven’t taken time to understand what the status quo is; they just want to change it.
Shorter Zaffirini: “If you don’t have a PhD, you’re too stupid to question me.” Now, one could argue that Zaffirini’s attitude is hers and hers alone, but on the contrary, it reflects the sentiments of at least the local Democratic Party as well. How do I know that? Because the duffers published Zaffirini’s comments on their own website to push a position they support.
Elsewhere in their article, the Democrats would also like for you to know exactly what it is that they’re against.
Perry and the right-wing think tank, Texas Public Policy Foundation, are pushing so-called “breakthrough solutions,” including bonus pay for teachers based on student evaluations and academic research being questioned. Gene Powell, Chair of the UT Board of Regents, has proposed increasing undergraduate enrollment by 10 percent at UT-Austin and reducing tuition by half across the system.
Bonus pay for excellence — the horror! Greater access to the state’s largest public university — the horror! Lower costs — the horror! The horror!
Update: From Zaffirini’s website:
Many Texans think of Judy as a senator and perhaps forget or don’t know that Dr. Judith Zaffirini is an award-winning communication specialist with more than 30 years of experience in public speaking at the local, state, and national levels, and with 13 years of teaching experience, including at junior college and university levels. She brings that experience to Zaffirini Communications, her business through which she offers professional communication services, including consulting, writing, coaching, seminars, and workshops.
Actually, I’d venture a strong guess that most Texans have no idea who Zaffirini is at all, nor do they care. But the lack of self-awareness in that paragraph is really something. It positively screams “Hire me because I’m a zillion times smarter than you,” which in addition to not being true, is poor communications.
As for Zaffirini’s PhD, as Paul points out in the comments, it’s in communications. Not education. There is nothing wrong with having a PhD in comms, of course. But her PhD has nothing to do with education. So by what authority does she speak up on education issues?