Phi Beta Cons

The Price of Sabbaticals

I don’t have a strong view on sabbaticals–maybe they’re a great idea and universities ought to pay for them. But with tuition costs expensive and rising, plus constant demands for new tax dollars to support higher ed, is it any wonder that people who get two weeks of paid vacation each year can’t understand why professors need this perk? Here’s the lede from a story in the Detroit News on Sunday:

Michigan universities paid more than 500 professors $23.2 million to be absent from the classroom during the 2004-05 school year, even as the state’s economy nosedived and parents and students struggled to pay double-digit tuition hikes.

The story goes on to point out that when health-care costs are figured in, the public price of sabbaticals is more like $31 million. And by the way, don’t most professors get their summers off?
The article is long, well reported, and worth reading. You can bet that it ticked off some guys who are losing their jobs with GM.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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