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Texas, Perry wrestle with higher education unrest

By Paul J. Weber

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, June 5 2011 11:55 a.m. MDT

AUSTIN, Texas — A tempest has erupted on college campuses in Texas over a conservative foundation's proposal questioning the value taxpayers get from academic critiques of Shakespeare and calling for more accountability.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry has thrown his support behind the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which promotes higher education reforms known as the "Seven Breakthrough Solutions." The proposals include providing bonuses for professors who score well on student evaluations and splitting teaching and research budgets.

Texas professors say the ideas undermine academic research. The backlash peaked last week at Texas A&M University, Perry's alma matter, when more than 800 faculty members signed a petition asking university regents to explain where they stand on the proposals.

Perry is calling on universities to contain tuition increases, improve graduation rates and become more financially accountable.

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