Longtime fans of Attorney General Cuccinelli have noted the recent absence of The Cuccinelli Compass. Well, now it’s back, by popular demand, and laying out Cuccinelli’s bold new proposals for Higher Education reform.
For a long time, Ken Cuccinelli kept his supporters in the loop of happenings in Richmond with a regular (often weekly) email update. Called The Cuccinelli Compass, these emails were all written by Ken himself, and explained to everyone the initiatives and activities he and his office were involved with. The Compass editions on the Obamacare suit filed by Cuccinelli’s office, for instance, were the single best source of reporting on what was happening in that matter and why.
But the Compass disappeared sometime this spring, leaving supporters and activists without any regular contact from Cuccinelli or his campaign outside of fundraising emails. Hearing the widespread desire from the grassroots for its return, Ken relaunched The Cuccinelli Compass last week. If you want to receive it, click here and sign up
The latest Compass, included in full below, deals with Cuccinelli’s bold new proposal on Higher Education reform. This proposal has some really innovative, forward-looking aspects to promote studies in the hard sciences, as well as ways to harness the incentives of the private sector to help promote aims. I’m sure hard core lefty-types will recoil at the idea of allowing “corporations” any formal role on campus, but Ken’s proposals are just the kind of thing we need to be doing in Virginia to lead the way on making sure college students can find good, high-paying jobs when they graduate–without taking on mountains of debt.
Read the whole thing.
Just wanted to be sure you saw this Washington Post article previewing the higher education policy that I am unveiling in a few hours to Governor Wilder’s public policy class at Virginia Commonwealth University. This is my sixth policy rollout in the campaign with more still to come.
Cuccinelli to unveil Virginia higher ed policy plan at former governor Doug Wilder’s class
September 5, 2013
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II is expected to unveil his plans for higher education when the Republican gubernatorial candidate visits the Richmond classroom of a former governor L. Douglas Wilder (D) on Thursday.
The plan embodies Cuccinelli’s conservative belief in relying on the private sector to achieve public aims, including several detailed initiatives that would build closer alliances between businesses and colleges and shift more tuition assistance to students who choose fields of study in demand at the moment, such science, technology or health care, according to a draft of the initiatives obtained by The Washington Post.
Cuccinelli also would continue programs and goals established under Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), such as awarding 100,000 more college degrees by 2025, while seeking to restore funding for higher education that diminished following the worst recession in generations, the draft plan says.
But the initiatives also reflect personal interests of Cuccinelli’s since he was a mechanical engineering student at the University of Virginia, including his work as an undergraduate to combat sexual assault on campus. His higher-ed platform, for example, calls for more uniform codes to address sexual assault on campus — a plank of the package also appears aimed at closing a substantial gender gap of support between him and his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe.
The two candidates are also scheduled to appear separately at Wilder’s public policy class at Virginia Commonwealth University later Thursday.
Polls show that McAuliffe has opened a lead in the hard-fought race, particularly among women. McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman from McLean, has also campaigned heavily on the theme of building up the state’s community colleges and enhancing their ability to create jobs. He has highlighted Cuccinelli’s move as attorney general to demand for records from a climate researcher at the University of Virginia by saying he would honor academic freedom.
In their platforms on K-12 and higher ed, however, both candidates share some common ground. McAuliffe’s campaign platform talks about a need to “protect” Virginia’s Tuition Assistance Grants for private colleges and universities; Cuccinelli said he would support increasing the grant maximum to $3,500 for undergraduates and $3,700 for graduate students and limit them to four years to encourage on-time graduation.
Both have urged more emphasis on preparing students for the 21st century workplace by focusing on subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. They have also emphasized the importance of the growing health care industry, or STEM-H. They believe that institutions of higher ed should make data available on the earnings and employment of their graduates so that families can judge the schools’ performance. And both agree that more can be done to help military veterans attend college.
Cuccinelli’s higher-ed blueprint reflects his view that the middle class has been hit hardest by soaring tuition and that colleges and universities must do more to prepare students for today’s tech-driven workplace, especially growing fields in cybersecurity and bioscience. He also pledged to tie state funding for colleges and universities to performance at those schools, as measured by graduation rates and “managerial efficiency.”
Overall, Cuccinelli’s strategy fully embraces greater involvement by the private sector in higher education. He wants businesses to help shape curricula and create more internships, especially to instill work and career skills. He would alter the traditional donor-recipient relationship between private sector grants and institutions of higher learning by allowing businesses that donate money to help lower students’ tuition in science and technology programs to get first crack at interviewing and hiring those students in their junior or senior year. And he would allow private sector companies to open branches, at a discount, within academic institutions to increase the possibility of collaboration and project development.
To push colleges and universities further into the area where job demand is seen as greatest, Cuccinelli would also eliminate Virginia’s $1,000 Two-Year Transfer Grant for humanities students and increase the $2,000 grant for low- and middle-income students who focus on the sciences or health care at four-year institutions.
He also said first-year students and their families ought to be able to lock in a tuition rate for four years. And he said he would challenge colleges and universities to offer at least one bachelors program in the sciences or a related field that would cost no more than $10,000. To do so, he said higher-ed institutions could require a certain number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credits prior to entrance, require high school students to attend some college classes, create weekend classes to boost credit loads, allow professional internships to count as college credit and use summer school to shorten the length of an undergraduate program to three years.
In regard to campus safety, Cuccinelli said he would push for greater uniformity of standards in investigating and punishing sexual assaults on campus. Although federal law lays out a framework for the process, Cuccinelli said, similar allegations based on the same evidence can nonetheless lead to very different sanctions depending on the institution.
“We owe it to students that attend state schools of higher education that each such incident is investigated appropriately and that sanctions are imposed in a consistent manner across all of our institutions, whether they be in rural, urban or suburban settings,” the draft says.
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