After WalletHub reported Hickory was one of the least educated cities in the country I expected the worst. And the major newspapers’ obsession with ‘clicks’ – in order to sell their ads on the internet – didn’t help. Bad news gets clicks.
It would have been helpful if someone had added one important fact to the story: Hickory is the largest MSA in the United States that doesn’t have a state funded university. WalletHub’s ranking metrics reflected, not bad institutions, but a low percentage of adults with college degrees. And, of course, when there’s no local state university it’s harder to earn a college degree.
Result: Hickory gets slammed.
Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina seems unable to resolve the long-running dispute about the UNC Law School’s ‘Center for Civil Rights’ which, to be candid, is a state funded political organization that supports liberal groups like the ACLU and Moral Monday.
Here’s a simple fix: The UNC Board of Governors should spin out the UNC Center for Civil Rights into a free-standing foundation. The Center will then be free to pursue its political agenda but the state will no longer be funding its activities.
Then UNC can use the money – that is now spent on the Center’s politics – to pay for real educational work.
For example, in Hickory we make things. And, with resources available, UNC could help Hickory with the consolidation and enhancement of Hickory’s existing educational structure for practical applied engineering. Those include Catawba Valley Community College, the Manufacturing Solutions Center and the Center for Engineering Technologies. If you want to throw in the money UNC is using to fight charges of academic fraud, so much the better.
With a little help, Hickory can get off WalletHub’s list – and everyone will be better off.