The gist of it is that Jindal believes that our students are ill-prepared for 4 year colleges and we would be better served sending them to technical colleges. I can't even begin to express how screwed up that thinking is - basically, it's like he's saying "this is the best Louisiana can do" as he shrugs his shoulders.
I have to say that Jindal has come through in some ways in North Louisiana from an economic development perspective - sort of. The two big developments (getting Foster Farms to buy a chicken processing plant and the V Vehicle factory) are notable, but let's be honest here - the state paid around $36 million dollars to help subsidize the purchase of the plant and so far there have been no jobs created from the V Vehicle plant (which is really a crap shoot - it could be a successful venture or it could end up failing completely). And some would point out that both of these still don't replace all the jobs lost by the Guide plant and the Pilgrim's Pride plant (as well as the Start Farm operations center - although in all fairness that happened before he took office) closing. So, the end result is the state had to spend money bandaging a gaping wound in our ability to keep our citizenry employed, and the reaction is to cut off education at the knee caps? Maybe we don't all want to work at an auto plant or at a chicken processing plant - maybe we want to be doctors, lawyers, scientist, artists?
Right now colleges across the state (not just LSU) are looking at a fourth consequetive round of budget cuts. Here's a quick breakdown:
- January 2009 - colleges were cut by $55 million
- June 2009 - additional cuts at almost $110 million
- January 2010 - Jindal asks for ways to cut at least $146 million more for the 2010-2011 fiscal year
Money is not everything, but you do need to spend something at least - it just seems that we are spending money on trying to keep industrial jobs in the area in a post-industrial era while slashing any opportunities we might have to create new and better paying jobs. Bobby Jindal, if you think we're too stupid to go to four-year universities, the solution is not telling us we need to go to technical or community colleges, it's improving all education from pre-K up. Any LSU graduate could tell you that.
Update: Because of the budget cuts, there will be a total of 484 faculty members who will lose their jobs at LSU alone. To keep things in perspective, LSU currently has approximately 1300 faculty members - that constitutes a 37% reduction in force. And of course, that's not even taking into account any staff reductions which may occur.
(Source: The Advcate, January 23, 2010 - http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/82467112.html)