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Powerful Aggie Alums Don’t Like Perry Higher Education Reforms

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

Governor Rick Perry’s ideas for reforming higher education are drawing criticism from some powerful people at his own Alma Mater, Texas A&M.

Twenty-two “distinguished alumni” at Texas A&M University are criticizing Perry’s higher education reforms, and an influential campaign contributor, as “naïve … proposals from inexperienced individuals.”

In an “Open Letter to the Texas A&M University Community”, the group criticizes proposals made by Jeff Sandefer, an Austin businessman and architect of the “Seven Breakthrough Solutions,” which have been championed by Perry as a means of making higher education more cost-effective.

Sandefer, who has contributed nearly $450,000 to Perry’s campaigns, sent his own mass email this week defending his ideas as a pathway to “a superior education at a far lower cost.”

The A&M graduates say this kind of high level political intervention and influence could damage A&M’s reputation, and would fundamentally change the ways research universities fulfill their educational responsibilities.

via A&M alums push back against Perry’s ‘naive’ reforms | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

Most of the signatories are wealthy Texas businessmen who have contributed generously to A&M, and have served in leadership positions at the university.  Perry graduated from A&M in 1972.

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