Tech School bill advances. But do we really know what we're getting?

The Argus Leader is reporting that the bill to create a board for tech schools passed the House. But, are we really prepared for the end result that I think might happen?:
A bill to create a separate governing board for South Dakota's four technical institutes is headed to the desk of Gov. Mike Rounds.


The House voted 50-19 on Wednesday to pass the bill, which would create a state board and four regional boards to govern the institutes.

The institutes - in Sioux Falls, Watertown, Mitchell and Rapid City - generally offer one-and two-year education and training to high-school graduates.

"These folks need our help," said Rep. Deb Peters, R-Hartford. "The technical institutes are on the front lines for economic development.''

Read that here.

Just as a little bit of historical perspective, I was an intern in the legislature during the (first) time when the battle raged over BHSC, NSC, and Madison fighting to become full fledged universities. I believe it failed once and then passed the next time out, but that's not the point. I vaguely recall that one of the arguments was that while they might be universities in name, they wouldn't be putting doctoral programs in place.

Fast forward twenty years, and guess what? They're starting to add doctoral programs.

Don't get me wrong, they're fine institutions and leaders in their field. But when a legislature promises "that would never happen," Don't believe it. Because not too many years down the line, after a first step in taken in one direction, it's pretty darned easy to travel down that path.

One legislature says it will never happen, and then later, someone says "why aren't we doing that? That's a great idea. It will pay for itself."

In this case, by setting up a separate board, this new panel will want to expand and enhance the programs under their care. They'll be back to the well year after year. And one day we'll wake up and see that we've created a system of junior colleges.

If that's the case, why don't we come out and say that, and then turn it over the the regents? It's not like we need another government board duplicating what one is already doing. And that will be the end result. Junior Colleges and the Junior College board of governance.

Don't believe me? Wait twenty years, and then let's talk.


Anonymous said…
What about he University of South Dakota at Sioux Falls? That is what conservatives really should have been concerned about! Last time I looked there were two state supported universities within an hour of Sioux Falls.
Anonymous said…
Don't kid yourself they already are Junior Colleges, we just don't call them that. I overheard one tech school student tell someone that their school is hoping to someday give out 4 year degrees. People grip and complain about South Dakota having too many universities with six. In 20 years we will have ten. Put them under the Regents as provided for in the Constitution.
Anonymous said…
I wouldn't trust Tad Perry and the Regents any farthur than I could throw them. If they get control they would close them all. They have a high brow attitude that only universities are worth having.
Anonymous said…
SLow techs = no real advancement past the two year degree as it is structured now.....need Deb P to stop jabber jawing on what she thinks....
Change them to Comm. college and Tech Schools.......some of the degrees could easily transfer to 4 year schools some should stay were they are at....but right now if a kid wants to get a 2year degree in business and then after a year or two of working would like to go back to school for a 4 year it will take hime three more years instead of just two.....start at tech= 5= years for a BS...start at a university 4+ and out.

This doesnt seem fair to me if they are both state supported.
Anonymous said…
8:13 We conservatives, most of us anyway, voted against it for the very reason you stated. Plus, don't forget that SF has 2 colleges in the city, Augi and USF not to mention some smaller ones.

Only problem is that there's not enough of us conservatives out in Pieerre, which makes a lot of you happy.
Anonymous said…
Several states have a seperate "Board of Tech Schools", we could too. If under BOR they sure would become Junior Colleges and maybe 4 year for some courses.
Na, never happen?!!
Anonymous said…
PP - You are exactly right about the Tech Schools. They want to expand beyond their missions into four-year colleges. And NOBODY in the state thinks we need to have ten colleges.

It just makes so much sense to let the Regents run all higher ed institutions, like the Constitution says. The regents wouldn't close the tech schools - they would operate them within their mission. That is what they already do with the universities.

Tech schools exist to provide career and technical education at the associate's degree level - and that is where they should stay. If the Regents operate them, that is where they will stay. But a separate board will keep pushing for more.

That is why the governor opposes this governance bill - he sees that it sets up another state entity to lobby for money - another "hog at the trough."
Anonymous said…
One thing - PP's analogy to the DSU/NSU/BHSU thing is a little different. That was merely a name change. They have always been operated by the regents and could have added doctoral programs even without any legislation. And the only doctoral program that any of them have is at Madison, where they have a doctorate in some computer security deal. Madison is one of the top schools in the country in that area, so it seems like a good place to make an exception.
Anonymous said…
The only trouble with this argument is reality.

Mitchell already has a private university of which it is very protective.

Sioux Falls already has a new state university.

Rapid City has two public universities -- Mines and BHSU -- and they are part of a joint approach with WDTI known as the Western Region Higher Education Center.

Also, the regents already have control of the general education courses taught at the tech schools.
Anonymous said…
5:18 - You're telling me that the tech schools don't want to expand beyond technical education? You obvioiusly haven't been paying attention - they are already trying.
Anonymous said…
PP: I think the Tech Schools are simply trying to have a board devoted to their missions. Yes, there is always some possibilities that some of the budget busters who allowed the University of South Dakota at Sioux Falls to get started would not care about another four universities, that just cannot happen with the seven current state universities.
Anonymous said…
Might as well let the Regents control everyone. That's how dictatorships work.

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