Margaret Spellings should be given a chance to succeed

2012 Lecture by Margaret Spellings

School of public policy, University of Michigan’s photostream/flickr

The Editorial Staff

Last week, over three-dozen people marched on the UNC Board of Governors meeting in Greensboro at A&T University; unfortunately, the protesters caused such a disturbance that four individuals were arrested.

As the News and Observer reports, the Faculty Forward Network, an outgrowth of the SEIU that aims to protect the interests of university faculty members, organized the protest in an ill-fated attempt to force the early removal of Margaret Spellings, the newly elected president of the UNC system.

Faculty Forward maintains that their protests — and the others they have previously organized — are designed to communicate the many frustrations felt by the faculty members they represent.

In fact, Faculty Forward claims that, according to an internal survey, 70 percent of UNC system faculty members believe public education is trending in the wrong direction.

As an Editorial Board, we discount public surveys such as these; it is bad journalistic practice to accept the merits of polling data without knowledge of the specific methodology and sample sizes used during the collection process.

However, we do concede that there is warranted skepticism surrounding the appointment of Ms. Spellings to head the UNC system.

For instance, her previous ties to for-profit universities and No Child Left Behind cannot be considered sterling in this political environment.

Nevertheless, Ms. Spellings is qualified for her position due to her previous position as the Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush.

So, if Ms. Spellings can overcome the appointment process in the United States Senate, then she should not have to deal with the petty attacks of the activist wing of the academic community.

And on top of that, the claims that Ms. Spellings is unqualified for her new position on the grounds that she lacks a Ph.D. is both preposterous and intellectually dishonest. This is especially the case since her predecessor, Tom Ross, also lacked a Ph.D., but was more agreeable to the academic community given his more moderate political positions. Suffice it to say, this attack wreaks of political calculation.

With that being said, we look forward to fairly covering Ms. Spellings during her tenure as president of the UNC system.

Rest assured that when Ms. Spellings makes a mistake, we’ll report on it; and, by that same token, when she improves our university system, we’ll also report it in a fair and unbiased manner.

After all, The Carolinian is motivated by facts, not politics. The academic community should follow our lead and at least allow Ms. Spellings to take office before calling for her removal.

Categories: Editorials, Opinions, Uncategorized

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