Archive for April 23, 2012
University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets. Hmm. – Forbes
This new article on the ongoing U. Florida debacle in Forbes is shocking. The athletic department is not getting cut — it’s getting a raise, and the raise alone is larger than the cost for the CISE department! Meanwhile, Florida has just created a new STEM-oriented university. I really would like to hear what argument the administration makes for these decisions. An article this morning in the Gainesville Sun suggests that the local residents don’t understand it, either.
Meanwhile, the athletic budget for the current year is $99 million, an increase of more than $2 million from last year. The increase alone would more than offset the savings supposedly gained by cutting computer science.
Now, I’m not saying that UF has chosen football over science. (Imagine the outcry, though, if UF cut a major sport instead of a major science department.) Actually, the real villains here are the Florida state legislators, who have cut the budget for their flagship university by 30% over the past 6 years.
Meanwhile, just two days ago, Florida governor Rick Scott approved the creation of a brand-new public university, Florida Polytechnic University, to be located near the city of Tampa.
I looked up Justin Reich based on Betsy DiSalvo’s comment last week. Justin argues that the affluent benefit more from free and open learning technologies (like WikiSpaces) than do lower socioeconomic class students, so free and open learning technologies actually widen the gap, more than shrink it. His video op-ed, linked below, makes this case with data based on use of WikiSpaces, showing that lower socioeconomic schools have less capacity to pick up and use these technologies.
But what to do? I liked both of the initiatives that Justin mentions, but I was disappointed that both of them are outside school. His study is on school use, but his recommendations are for out-of-school use. Is there nothing we can do in poorer schools to make things better?