(1) To increase the number of graduates for the state's workforce; andand they want to change it to provide:
(2) To increase the growth capacity of the state's economy by increasing the innovation and development capacity of the state and by increasing the skills of the state's current workforce
(1) A workforce that meets the current and prospective needs of the state's economy;The first one in both is essentially the same, with one caveat. The revision makes it clear that we're not just after graduates, but after people who can actually work in the context of the state's economy whether they graduate or not. That's a good thing, though from the rest of the bill, I suspect it's not necessarily intended.
(2) Affordable postsecondary educational opportunities for all state citizens;
(3) Access to postsecondary education programs that serve to increase the educational attainment of the state's citizenry and thereby enable citizens to provide leadership in all sectors of life in the state; and
(4) A foundation upon which the state can grow the development and innovation capacities of the state's economy.
The new fourth stated goal and the old second goal are also essentially the same. I'm not entirely sure what "development capacity" means, but as both statements are equally obtuse, I'm not sure it matters. The revision at least has the advantage being about half the length of the old one. If I were to rewrite it though, I'd say "A foundation upon which the state's economy and its workforce can diversify, innovate, and expand" and for the sentimental types I'd add "to meet the changing technological and economic circumstances of the 21st century". People like that "21st century" stuff, kind of like Buzz Lightyear's "To infinity...and Beyond!"
The new 2nd and 3rd goals are really corrollaries of the others. If folks are going to get some sort of post secondary education, they have to be able to afford it, and they have to be able to access it. It's fine to make that explicit, but I think I'd make that subsidiarity clearer.
The bill then appoints a council to do...what? It hasn't really the authority to actually do anything. It recommends goals and performance metrics to the legislature and then monitors those the legislature approves. There is no scope for remedial action if goals aren't met or performance is sub par. The bill also proceeds to make rather automatic the funding levels of post-secondary education, restricting the legislature's ability to redirect funds away from failure and towards success based on those goals and metrics. The power of the purse is the primary disciplinary tool available to the legislature. It is foolish to give that tool away. By not making funding automatic, the legislature is forced to ask these kinds of questions every session - which is difficult and time consuming, I understand, but that's also the legislature's job. It's why we pay them the exorbitant mileage reimbursement rate of $0.05/mile to go to Pierre.
I'd recommend giving the Sec'y of Labor and the Commissioners of Economic Development & Finance the option of sending a designee to the council, and giving the council some interim authority to take remedial action for schools that don't measure up. And I'd recommend not making the funding automatic based on inflation. Toss in an "ordinarily" and "subject to annual legislative review" or some other such phrases to make it clear they need to satisfy the people's representatives that the money is being well spent.