Task force just tomfoolery

If it can’t be fixed, maybe it never worked in the first place.

That’s the skinny on Gov. Jim Edgar and his much-ballyhooed task force on higher education. What started out as a promising idea to examine the ways higher education is governed has turned into a gigantic waste of time for all involved.

The first mistake in the process occurred when the committee was not even formed until two months after its April conception. Secondly, Edgar’s appointments to the committee, which was co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Bob Kustra and Illinois Board of Higher Education Chairman Art Quern, left a lot to be desired. On top of those blunders, this motley crew was forced to do a rush job on the whole process, scarcely having more than a month to do its work.

Edgar’s sloppy formation of the committee was certainly evident in the alleged recommendations offered. The committee suggested organizing the schools by region, by type or by giving the IBHE greater control. Even the most casual observer of higher education could have been more imaginative.

Now the committee is in limbo until Kustra and Edgar find time to talk about it, changing the focus of the committee to streamlining higher education. This is simply a copy of what the IBHE is currently in the process of doing.

This committee has become the butt of jokes at schools from DeKalb to Edwardsville. It was doomed from the start because of poor planning. Maybe it’s time to put the task force out to pasture.