Television Debate: Milk For Kids And University System Chancellors

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During my television segment last night on Valley News Live with Chris Berg and High Plains Reader publisher John Strand we talked about “milkgate” as well as the turmoil over Chancellor Hamid Shirvani:

Valley News Live – KVLY/KXJB – Fargo/Grand Forks

On the chancellor issue, Mr. Strand’s contention is that the legislature is overstepping its bounds and micromanaging the university system. I’d point out that the university system is being so poorly managed by the State Board of Higher Education – from scandals such as the “diploma mill” problem at Dickinson State to their lack of diligence in vetting Chancellor Shirvani – that the legislature really has no choice but to step in.

The North Dakota University System will more than likely, in the next biennium, cost the taxpayers directly close to $1 billion. Our elected leaders in the legislature have a duty to exercise some sort of oversight for the system, though I’d argue that they need to move beyond food-fights over the chancellor to fundamental reforms in how the system is governed.

As to the milk cartons, it seems the arguments coming from many boils down to this: “It’s milk for kids. Q.E.D.”

But few seem to be talking about the fact that nobody from the school districts showed up to testify in favor of the spending. There’s a lot of heated rhetoric about children going without nourishment during the day, but there’s no testimony or data indicating those claims are actually true. And in the absence of that sort of information, the Republican House majority made the right call. They chose not to spend tax payer dollars on something that, from their perspective, wasn’t necessary.

Just because something is “for the children” doesn’t mean we should just throw money at it. We elected our leaders to make decisions with reason and logic, not emotions.

That Democrats turned that common-sense decision into a political stunt, and fundraising scheme, the sort of antics a thoroughly marginalized minority get up to for attention. They’re like toddlers acting out to get attention from mommy and daddy.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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