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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 54, Number 9 (April 1953)

Kohler, Walter
Integration,   pp. 8-12


Page 11


Gov. Kohler on Integration
             (continued from page 8)
veloped, and too often the solution lay in the problem
wearing itself to its inevitable end.
   I foresee major, unprecedented problems for higher
 education in the near future, and I shall do all in my power
 to anticipate those problems now, while there is time to
 study and analyze them, and find objective, sensible solu-
 tions without the pressures of urgency.
   These factors will inevitably combine to place a strain
 on our colleges in the next two decades. The strains which
 are now raising havoc in the primary grades will progress
 through the high school to the college. There is no forsee&
 able decline in the birth rate which will ease the pressure
 of sheer numbers.
   With equal rapidity the need for advanced technical
 training has increased. A score or more of new develop-
 ments compel the youth of today and tomorrow to seek
 more advanced education if they are to have a full part
 in the life of the future.
   Finally, the factor of bigness will in itself create problems.
 Projected enrolments raise serious doubt that the Madison
 campus of the University can effectively handle the potential
 load by 1965 or 1970. The post-war development of exten-
 sion centers-more than 30 were opened-was only a minor
 manifestation of a situation which will become acute in the
 not too distant future.
 TN NO OTHER SEGMENT ofz state government do we
 .1 tolerate the lack of coordination which exists in higher
 education. There was a time when each of our penal and
 charitable institutions was operated by a separated agency,
 and we were assured that they could not function effectively
 otherwise.
   Today, a single board controls not only these penal and
 charitable institutions but a range of welfare activities un-
foreseena few decades ago.
    Agriculture, health, conservation, industrial regulation,
 motor vehicle regulation, tax collection are other areas in
 which the many segments of a major function have been
 brought together in our Wisconsin government.
    Yet, we place the training of some teachers under one
 board, the training of other teachers under another board,
 and the training of other teachers under a third board.
 If the administrative processes and end result of all are
 equally good, one should be enough; and if one is better
 than the rest, we should certainly abolish the less effec-
 tive ...
    Today, four systems of higher education compete for
 students, compete for broader authority, compete for state
 funds. Four boards report to the governor. Four budgets
 and accounting systems exist. Four sets of students fees,
 four different sets of entrance requirements, four variations
 of other policies create a maze of conflict into which few
 have the courage to venture and fewer the patience to
 understand.
    It's frequently argued that no one group of men can
 effectively operate so large a segment of state government
 as would be brought into being by a combination of all
 degree granting colleges. These opponents forget that in
 industry, commerce and government itself there are many
 APRIL, 1963
organizations of much greater size and scope which are
effectively and efficiently administered.
  There are those who fear that such a plan would regi-
ment the higher educational program of the state, impose
the opinions of a few on the entire system, and prevent the
full development of different, but compatible ideas.
   I have no such fears. Certainly the educational leaders of
this state, if they are worthy of their profession, can and
would recognize the validity of each other's proposals. Their
abiding interest in the youth of the state would result in
the careful evaluation of all proposals and the acceptance
of those most likely to succeed.
THOSE WHO FEAR that the Madison campus would
wither away are needlessly alarmed. The professional
schools are so firmly planted on the "Hill" at Madison, and
their costs are so great, that it would be impossible to dupli-
cate them elsewhere.
   There are those whose distrust of our educational leaders
leads them to fear that the proposal will water down the
University or Stout Institute, or the teacher training program
generally, or some other aspect of education in which
they have a particular interest.
   Making more education more readily available to more
 qualified people certainly can only result in the improve-
 ment of an educational system.
   Moreover, provision of a means of evaluating and co-
 ordinating our total program of higher education, can only
 result in the strengthening of all our educational institu-
 tions.
   Some of those who recognize that there are unsolved
 problems which must be met if our system is to work when
 put to the test, suggest that there are less drastic ways of
 finding a solution. It is highly improbable that any worthy
 proposal will be initiated at this time after 100 years of
 almost complete silence. A unified system has worked well
 in-other-states,-and- would- workl-nWsconsir4f-a-directive-
 to establish it were enacted.
   In fact, it has worked in Wisconsin, for with nine state
 colleges operating under a single board, our higher educa-
 tional system is already three-fourths integrated.
   It is my responsibility, as governor of Wisconsin to
 initiate a continuous quest for improvement in the admin-
 istrative and fiscal procedures of the state.
 TN MAKING THE decision to revive the program for' in-
   tegrating the state-supported institutions of higher learn-
 ing, I was actuated by several desires.
   I wanted to provide a sound and efficient method of
 administering the far flung units of the educational system.
   I wanted to develop a long range plan to evaluate our
 higher educational needs, and to cope with the enormous
 increase in students which our colleges can expect-within a
 few short years.
   Finally, I wanted to increase and extend educational
 opportunity throughout the state, so that more of our young
 people could obtain a University education while living at
 home. The ultimate saving which this can bring to Wis-
 consin parents who now must send their children away to
 school is, of course, enormous. The increased opportunity
                  (continued on page 12)
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