Key to better school is smarter students

By Eric Krol

It’s pretty obvious to anyone who is watching that NIU has an acute funding shortage. Our teachers have not seen a raise in years that even managed to keep up with inflation.

And that’s not even taking into account that at a recent Board of Regents meeting President La Tourette said the power lines by the dorms (note: not the PC term “residence halls”) were 25 years old and really needed to be replaced. These lines could basically go at any time.

So, how are we supposed to get more money? Springfield is the obvious answer.

Unfortunately, NIU is not very well liked in Springfield right now.

For starters, many government people feel we’re butting our noses where they don’t belong with the whole ROTC issue and trying to dictate policy to the Pentagon.

In addition, some other political types feel like we’re becoming greedy with the whole Hoffman Estates thing.

Andrew McGann, chairman of the House Education Appropriations Committee, really doesn’t like us too much to begin with.

He put us through the meat grinder during a committee meeting this summer in Springfield on the Hoffman Estates project, asking us if we should be allowed to blindly pursue expansion.

Rey, McGann wasn’t going to have to give us money because the project is pretty much self-sufficient. So what did he care? There’s more here than meets the eye.

NIU is always short on funding. But take a look at the University of Illinois. This school has high admission requirements and has become the flagship public university of this state.

Let’s put the two points side-by-side. NIU has a problem with funding. The U of I has higher admission requirements, attracts better students, 40,000 to be exact, and gee, they’re much better funded than NIU.

Adding two and two, maybe a solution to NIU’s problems is to raise admissions requirements. Let’s say, a 25 on the ACT and more core requirements.

There are plenty of other public two-and four-year schools for state students who don’t make the cut to go to.

Sure, it would take a while for the plan to work and the logistics are a definite problem, but look at the results at U of I.

Not-so-scientifically stated, better students mean better degree programs and better profs, which leads to better state funding. Score!

The question of how to get state funding is a burning question now more than ever. Edgar has stated “no new taxes” (Okay, Bush did too). But NIU is wanting to go out on some adventuresome limb wanting to improve this campus.

We want to build a new student life center, a parking garage, an addition to the library, a school of business building, an engineering building, etc.

Before that limb breaks, let’s do something to make us more attractive to Springfield. Raising admission requirements is one possible approach.

Oxymoron of the week: “Nazi Communist Anarchist” (yes, someone actually used this term to describe a friend of mine).