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The Association of Former Students
Howdy, Advocates!
Thanks for your continued interest in and support of the Texas A&M Advocacy Network. Our fifth news update includes articles on the race for the new Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, changing views on education as a public versus private good, and the lingering debate about how colleges are - and could be - effected by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA).  In addition, you will also find two articles about the conditions which lead to the wide variety of opinions about higher education: both in its intrinsic value and its business-like practices. 
While some articles may reflect opinion pieces, we hope that you will find all of the material informative, reasoned, and useful.  We provide these articles as context only and not as an endorsement of any particular view.
Thanks and gig ’em,
Dave Fujimoto ’17
Director of Strategic Engagement

Texas Politics

Analysis: Is the field of candidates for Speaker of the House really much bigger?

"Only four people have declared themselves candidates for speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, but don’t get the idea that you’ve seen the full field of candidates."
"The election won’t actually happen until January, when the Legislature convenes for its next regular session, but the politics are well underway. The four officially and legally in the race to succeed current Speaker Joe Straus, listed in the order they jumped in, are Reps. Phil King of Weatherford, John Zerwas of Richmond and Tan Parker of Flower Mound, all Republicans, and Eric Johnson, a Democrat."
Continue reading the article here. 

Higher Education - State

From Public Good to Private Good

"Americans are losing the will to pay for their public colleges. They still view a higher education as essential for their personal prospects, for getting a good job and achieving financial security. But they don’t want states spending more of their money or raising their taxes to sustain the campuses that educate the majority of the nation’s students. Once embraced as a collective good, a public higher education is increasingly viewed - and paid for - as a private one."
Read more about these changing opinions here. 

Higher Education - Federal

Endowment Tax Fight Not Over Yet

"The fight over the Republican tax bill passed last December is far in the rearview of most colleges and student groups. But a group of private colleges still has its sights set on overturning a new endowment tax passed as part of that bill over the objections of higher ed advocates."
Continue reading in Inside Higher Ed. 

Opinions on Higher Ed

College Plays Powerful Role in Achieving the American Dream

"I know firsthand the transformative power of higher education in America. I have witnessed how it breaks the cycle of poverty and dependence to develop leaders in all walks of life… While I am not opposed to college accountability, I am concerned about the impact that several of these elements will have on so many students. The current House bill eliminates the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, meant for the poorest families in America, and converts those funds to federal work study program."
"If college is to be a truly transformative pathway to the American dream, we need to examine carefully the unintended impact of each element of them. Every student, and America’s future, deserves no less.”
Read more about this college president's views in The Hill here

Yes, Higher Ed Is a Business - But It's Also a Calling

In discussions about why higher education has fallen in public esteem and support, colleges are seen as too elitist, too liberal, too resistant to accountability, too expensive, and too focused on liberal learning rather than preparing students for careers. A less-cited theme is that a large majority of Americans view academic institutions as essentially businesses that are more concerned with their own financial well-being than with educating students or serving communities. It is not difficult to draw a bright line connecting the view of academic institutions as money-making enterprises with the readiness of Congress to eliminate longstanding tax benefits based on the idea of colleges and universities as charitable enterprises.”
Continue reading in this Chronicle of Higher Education article here. 

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