The nation’s tradition of fomenting a popular distrust of learning, which Richard Hofstadter documented in ”Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” is on full display today in the GOP-dominated New Hampshire legislature.
Two new reports document how the Granite State now leads the nation in dismantling public education. A study by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities reports New Hampshire produced the nation’s sharpest decline in state funding for public higher education with a 48% reduction from 2011 to 2012.
Not surprisingly, a separate but related report by the Project on Student Debt confirms that New Hampshire college students also lead the nation in loan debt at graduation. The Granite State’s college graduates left school in 2010 with an average debt of $31,048, the most in the country.
When Gov. Lynch opposed the university system budget cuts, he stated the obvious. “We need a well-educated workforce to succeed in the future.” Not so, retorted state House Speaker Bill O’Brien:
“Not only does throwing more and more taxpayer money at funding college education cause more problems than it solves, it inaccurately signals that college attendance is the only route for success in life, insulates an efficient industry for the reality of market needs, and imposes taxes on average working families and blue collar workers to fund others’ tuition,” O’Brien said in a statement.