The U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, staked some unflattering claims against schools of education during his speech on education reform last Thursday at the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York.
“Schools of education have been renowned for being cash cows for universities,” he said. “The large enrollment in education schools and their relatively low overhead have made them profit centers.”
He went on to say universities use the profits from the education colleges and allocate it to other departments in the university, all while ignoring updates needed in the education area.
Eastern Michigan University can be included as a target in these comments. The College of Education is well regarded and is a huge draw for the university, but how the money from the tuition of the education students is being spent remains in question.
“I think that’s probably true,” senior and special education major Mary Baharozian said. “People think of Eastern as an education focused school, and that’s why people come here. I think most of our funds should go to the building, but I know that’s not possible. So if it’s benefitting the whole school, it’s benefitting us too.”
Other students seemed to have similar ideas and no issues with the potential truth of Duncan’s statement.
“If they’re putting it in other places that need it, that’s fine,” senior and secondary education major Sean Astrakhan said. “Careers that draw more people can charge more, and those that don’t have such high enrollment can charge less to draw people in. I don’t see what the problem is.”
Some instructors, however, believe the College of Education might not be getting the respect it deserves from those who run the university.
“I believe the College of Education runs the whole school because of our enrollment,” special education instructor Kathlyn Parker said. “I don’t think they always appreciate that.”
Others have faith in Eastern’s use of the money paid by the education students.
“That may happen at some places, but I think the College of Education gets its fair share here,” special education instructor Karen Schulte said. “But I can see how it can happen. But since we have such high enrollment, it’s our responsibility to support other parts of the university. We’re just one big organization, and we take care of each other.”