Inslee and McKenna take very different positions on higher education

After experiencing  THE GRIM, ANTI-ACADEMIC ATMOSPHERE OF THE STATE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION, I am becoming utterly confused by the governor’s race.

I am very troubled and want to ask myself what Thomas Jefferson  would do?

Is this another choice between centrist conservatives .. like Washington and Hamilton vs. Madison and Jefferson, or is this more like our recent crazy races between moderate Democrats like Obama, and crazy Republicans like Palin?

The Democrat, whom I support, is sounding an awful lot like a Republican .. not one of the crazy folks in Tacoma … but Jay Inlee’s insistence on no new taxes or even tax reform leaves Mr. Inslee with no rational way to support higher education. The only defense I have for this is that I have met Jay and see him as a very honest man.  He is limiting his mabitons to what he can achieve.

The p[roblem is that the Republican, Rob McKenna, does not sound like the far right activists who dominated the state party in Tacoma. Rob comes across more like the old fashioned conservative, pro university Republicans like Slade Gorton or even John  Adams.

To see what I mean, look at yesterday’s Seattle Times’s  summary of Inslee’s plan to improve higher-ed

“Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee has released a higher-education plan that calls for capping the interest rate for state-backed student loans, expanding online education and increasing partnerships with private colleges.”

The comparison with McKenna’s plan is striking in two ways.

One is that McKenna makes very specific promises but then does not explain where he will find the money to fulfill the promise.  Inslee’s proposals are de minimus and would have far less impact on the state budget.

The second is that McKenna’s proposals emphasize maintenance of the premier academic status of the Washington’s research schools.  Inslee seems to focus more on remedial efforts via online education, like Western Governor’s University, and the odd, almost Republican, idea that Washington could address its needs by turning more to our private colleges.

My question for Inslee is simple, “Hunnh ???”  What is he talking about?  As discussed over and over on this website there is NO evidence that Western Governors form of education helps anyone get a job. In contrast, the value of the UW’s prestige to this state is obvious. As for the private schools, this seems rather like the Republican idea that we can use vouchers to educate our kids.  Does anybody see Seattle Pacific as offering the kind of education WA kids need?  Even the best of our private schools are simply;y not in a league with our existing state colleges and Universities.

My question for McKenna is also simple.  Does McKenna mean what he says?  Is he telling the truth about his commitments to education?  If so, how will he pay for this fine idea without gutting the already rickety state budget or picking the sort of anti union tactics we have seen in Wisconsin and Ohio?

Call me confused.  After Tacoma I find it impossible to vote for any Republican.  I respect Inslee’s honesty but … without leadership, without commitment, how can we keep the UW, WSU and our excellent colleges  out of the diploma mill plus football trap of all too many state universities? .

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