Education is failing because of inefficiency

To the editor:J. Bonnie Newman, interim chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire, laments about the ever-rising burden of debt Granite State students carry upon leaving college (“N.H.’s dubious, and dangerous, distinction,” Dec. 2-15 NHBR).The hard truth is macro education is one of the most failed institutions in all of America. It has for decades foisted upon the citizenry nonstop tuition cost increases at rates twice that of inflation (sometimes triple), all while the quality of results has fallen at competitive international testing venues.Ms. Newman and her peers need to take a hard look in the mirror. The fundamental problems facing education reside within education and their solution must emanate from there.There is a single word that defines education’s failure, and removing two letters from that word could signal its rise from the ashes. The word is “inefficiency” to “efficiency.” Cost escalation is the true systemic cancer of education and the real threat to the middle class that Ms. Newman ought to be focusing on.Public schools, colleges and universities across this nation have shirked their responsibility to control costs at every juncture. Even while interest rates and borrowing costs are at generational lows, college tuitions are still rising at astronomical percentages in New Hampshire and elsewhere.The root cause of education’s economic failure can be traced to a single item. That item is labor content (teacher and professor salaries/benefits) as they relate to a percentage of operating costs in a direct ratio to the number of students graduated.Education is home to what is thought to be some of the most intelligent people on this planet. The one challenge that seems beyond their ability to address is how to control labor costs for the product they produce. That failure will indeed doom us all. For the last 30 years unions have eaten college and university administrators like Ms. Newman for lunch at the negotiating table. The price of that failure? An incredible sum of money owed on graduation day. Tony BoutinGilford

Categories: Cook on Concord