As much as we’d like to think we are, the United States is no longer the leader in education. The Chinese surpass us in science and mathematics, the Germans rely on their efficiency and engineering, and even Canadians are out-ranking us on international reading standards. What do we have left? Inefficient budgeting allocations and a top-heavy administrative bloat.
As Nov. 6 approaches, students are looking at the issues that are most important to them; education is continually at the top of that list. However, most students focus on the wrong aspects of education. Rather than voting for the candidate that promises increased funding for colleges and universities, students should be looking at where the current funds go.
While students continually complain about decreased funding and higher tuition costs, they are unaware that education spending has increased over the years. The Department of Education’s proposed 2012 budget was more than $68 million, compared to the budget of $37 million in 2000. While there is an increase in federal education spending, students still face massive debt and the United States still struggles with its international education rankings. As a result, we need to focus on reform as opposed to complaining and throwing money at the problem.
According to Cherry Daniel, College of Charleston Board of Trustees member, colleges across the country need to focus on efficiency in their administrative offices, instead of waiting for more money to magically appear. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the College’s endowment in 2011 was $57,281,467. So where is this money going?
Even Daniel said the board realizes its inefficiency and is trying to make strides to reduce costs for students. She said the board implemented a cost-containment study to analyze the school’s departments, which she admitted were “administration top-heavy.”
If the College is able to restructure their spending after the study is completed, perhaps we’ll see savings occur. In 2008 New York University implemented a task force to re-engineer their administration. After seven months, the school saw a savings of over $20 million. Some of the changes the school made came directly from increasing energy efficiency, reducing “incidental expenses like travel and supplies,” reevaluating vendors to lower university expenses and reorganizing staff without any employees losing their jobs. If New York University can do it, we can too.