By Kevin RinkeRepublican candidate for governor
Michigan parents whose kids are in college or about to enter college are rightly concerned about the rising cost of education. Over the last several decades, no price has risen higher than the cost of a college education. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost at public universities has risen by 179.2% over the last 20 years, outpacing inflation by 171.5%. This massive rise in costs has forced parents and students to incur massive amounts of debt and forced taxpayers to shell over ever rising amounts of state dollars.
Most parents are now demanding answers on what is driving up these costs and what they are getting for the debt they are forced to be liable for. The answer to these questions will cause even more rage among Michigan parents.
We all see the administrative bloat at the local level of education driving up the cost to educate our children in the K-12 systems, but at the university level it’s even worse. One of the main problems is the effort to force a “woke” agenda on our college campuses and force parents and students to foot the bill. The way they force this agenda into our universities is through something called Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
FoxNews.com recently quoted Jay Greene who is a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy suggesting that the goal is not only to create a more diverse student body and faculty, but “Instead, the effective purpose of diversity, equity and inclusion is to create a political orthodoxy and enforce that political orthodoxy, which fundamentally distorts the intellectual and political life on campus.” And the cost of this effort is not cheap.
The same article quoted Mark Perry who is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor emeritus in economics at the University of Michigan about the massive costs of DEI efforts at U of M. He said the administrative bloat across the university is massive with every school, college and department across the university hiring diversity officers, and called it “shocking” that no evidence is available that shows any improvement in “the racial climate, tolerance, and welfare of students.” But we can see the costs.
Parents, students, and taxpayers are spending $11.8 million per year on DEI staff salaries, $3.8 million on benefits and $431,000 on the DEI director alone, the highest such salary found across the nation. The DEI Director’s massive salary stands in contrast to the $174,000 per year average salary of tenured professors at UM.
So, Michigan parents and kids are paying over $15 million per year for a bureaucracy whose primary goal is the political indoctrination of our kids, not providing them an education to help them pay the massive debt they incur on campus.
Governor Whitmer and her liberal allies may believe that such political indoctrination is worth this amount of debt our kids are being saddled with.
Every year our state universities come to the legislature demanding higher taxpayer support at the same time they are demanding even higher tuition, and this is what it supports. No longer. Under a Rinke administration these efforts to indoctrinate our kids will end or the state funding to support it will be cut.
Michigan families have had enough of the ridiculous cost of education, and of having woke ideology shoved down their throats. Enough is enough and I will end both.
Kevin Rinke is a Michigan businessman who ran Metro Detroit car dealerships. Rinke resides in Oakland County with his family.