Retirees Association

DDN VOICES: SB 83 about well-heeled conservative groups wanting to control education

Students Protest SB83

Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

Editor’s Note: SB 83 was added to the Ohio Senate’s version of the budget, which passed last Wednesday. The budget bill now heads to conference committee and Gov. DeWine has to sign the two-year state budget. Today, hear from a perspective critical of SB 83. In yesterday’s paper, a contributor defended the bill.

In his sponsor testimony on SB 83, Sen. Jerry Cirino said: “This bill is the result of many months of development and over a year of my own research.”

Through the testimony, however, it has been made very clear that Sen. Cirino and his co-sponsors actually know very little about higher ed and, even given the flawed nature of SB 83, they could not have researched or written the bill. The bill has now been forced into the budget bill considered by a conference committee so as to limit further debate amid the widespread resistance to the legislation from faculty, students, and administrations. Even Ohio State University’s board of trustees have asked for the bill to be killed.

So who are the puppet masters seeking to have one political party take over our public colleges and universities and put academic decisions into the hands of political appointees?

A key organization behind this unwarranted attack on our public colleges and universities is the National Association of Scholars (NAS).

Over the years, a number of right-wing foundations have provided NAS with revenue to back the teaching of ideologically-driven — rather than academically-legitimate — approaches to history and politics. This approach doesn’t much reflect new research, the changing world that our students live in, or the knowledge they need to have. NAS has gotten beyond scholarship and is engaged in extremist political advocacy amounting to propaganda that undermines the very education and freedom to learn they claim to champion.

The British writers John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge in their authoritative The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America (Penguin, 2004) have outlined how extremely conservative wealthy individuals have funded this broad ideological attack on contemporary American values and higher ed.