House speaker urges lawmakers to stop "muddying the waters" of higher ed reform
In his opening remarks for the legislative session on Tuesday, House Speaker Dean Cannon called on fellow lawmakers to "stop playing musical chairs" when it comes to reforming the state university system. Like it or not, that authority is delegated to the Florida Board of Governors, Cannon said.
From his prepared remarks:
"...after a steady stream of reform proposals, several originating from this House, we have a higher education system with no clear mission, universities pursuing overlapping agendas despite limited public resources, and our community colleges rapidly transforming themselves into 4 year degree institutions...
"... we, as a Legislature, and I freely include myself in this critique, have contributed to the problem by parochially advancing the interests of our local university or college at the expense of the system as a whole. If left unchecked, we will continue to have a higher education system that is aggressively racing to the middle."
"I am not standing before you today to tell you that I know the solution to the problem. In fact, the Florida Constitution makes it clear that it is not the role of the Florida Legislature to dictate the mission of the State University System; that role is reserved by the constitution for the Board of Governors. And while this may not have been the system I would design, if we are going to have a successful higher education system, we need to stop playing musical chairs with the governance structure and focus on implementing a modern, coordinated system for the State of Florida.
The House will have university presidents speak to its education committee starting this week.