To answer the question of my last post, I’ll pick up where I left off in my first. USAFA badly needs competition. Perhaps the Air Force should get out of the business of undergraduate education. For some time it’s racked up a lousy track record of bloated cost with less than stellar results. If the place were truly “world class” then the leaders would go on to be Presidents, Provosts, and Deans of Ivy League schools or MIT or Stanford.
Look at John Regni, the predecessor of Gould. Regni is personally responsible for some of this mess. He meddled in the process of honor cases by frequently overturning recommendations of Honor Boards. Likewise he capriciously reversed decisions of Academic Review Committees when they recommended disenrollment of cadets who had hopelessly deficient academic records.
When there was an outbreak of cheating in the Cadet Wing, actually pretty mild by historic standards, he panicked and held an emergency meeting of personnel in Mitchell Hall. There he boasted that USAFA was “better than Harvard” without offering any proof.
Wiser heads pleaded with him not to move up the Schedule of Calls which caused cadets to be starving by late-morning. When cadets’ parents complained loudly enough to Members of Congress, he finally relented.
Then he and his minions, like Born and Fullerton, lied during reaccreditation that his reversal about the Schedule of Calls was an excellent example of leadership by his solicitation of the best advice in making the decision. And he pretended that no one could have foretold the problems when he moved up the Schedule of Calls.
Regni fostered an environment where genuine assessment was ignored. Instead events and data were distorted and falsified so that Regni could say that USAFA “hit an institutional home run” in gaining reaccreditation.
And Regni is the guy who initiated the idea of the boondoggle of erecting an expensive new building for the Center for Character Development and Leadership (CCDL). It looks like a Big Dick. Years from now cadets will give visitors directions, “Drive down to the end of Vandenberg. To the left you’ll see the Big Dick. Go turn right . . .”
And who’s going to fill up the space? The Air Force has been cutting back on staffing the CCDL. Of course, “build it and they will come” will be the answer.
So with his less than adequate track record as a superintendent, is Regni the head of some prestigious school? Of course not.
What about Born’s predecessor? David Wagie left USAFA in disgrace in the aftermath of the sexual assault scandals. A Congressional commission called him derelict in his duty. But he was allowed to retire as a Brigadier General.
In spite of applying for dozens and dozens of openings for leaders of universities and colleges, he couldn’t find a regular job at first. Eventually he got one as President of a tiny school called St. Gregory’s University in Oklahoma. He lasted less than two years.
No wonder Gould, Born, and Fullerton are desperately holding on to their jobs at USAFA. Who else will take them in?
As I said the Air Force would be better off spreading its budget for commissioning sources more evenly around several schools, especially the senior military colleges. Then it should perform genuine assessment of outcomes, including development of moral character. And reward the best performing schools with more funding. And if the laggards don’t improve cut them off.
Maybe it would be best that the Air Force spun off USAFA making it independent. Treat it like the other senior military colleges by funding it with ROTC scholarships. USAFA would have to charge tuition like the other schools too.
With so much accountability, my hope is that USAFA would improve considerably.
Finally, to “Fly Boy”: using the excuse that “everybody does it” for not doing your duty in following instructions on the Defining Issues Test is of course no excuse. When I said that there were brats at USAFA, I meant cadets like YOU. Most cadets conscientiously and consistently do their jobs well. YOU drag them down and the reputation of USAFA.
If what you say were true in that everyone blew off the Defining Issues Test, then the scores would have been in the toilet during both Freshmen and Senior years. But that didn’t happen. Scores improved significantly. Just not better than what happens at civilian colleges and universities.
If you counter that the scores would have been better if you and your bratty buddies did take it seriously. I counter in that your “Christmas Treeing” the survey was more than sufficient evidence of your poor moral development.
Brats are raised and not born that way. At USAFA brats begat brats. Is there any way to break the cycle short of shutting it down?
Some of the cadets who’ve posted here say that no one should dare judge them for not honestly taking the Defining Issues Test. What arrogant, ignorant brats they are. Absolutely, they’re to be judged as cadets and after graduation as active duty personnel.
I have a message for them: if you blow off your job then at least you should be fired. It happens all the time. Welcome to the adult world.
And where do they learn this stupid behavior from? From the ring knockers who hang around USAFA either by trying to homestead or by becoming double dippers with follow-on civilian jobs while they get their military retirement pay.
Gould’s attempting to do the same by his campaigning to become the civilian athletic director after he retires in 2013.
Born and Fullerton don’t seem to be judged by standards. Otherwise they would have been fired. So cadets naturally think that standards are made to be broken.
I bet that nearly all of these cadets and personnel at USAFA would describe themselves as conservatives. But they act like socialists feeling entitled to suck out money from the federal government tit without any meaningful accountability.
It makes sense that they would be outraged when Malmstrom seriously assesses USAFA’s honor code. In the article and the comments I haven’t seen one of his critics provide refuting data (aside from the nonsensically false claim that there is a strong trend of declining honor cases). And little anecdotal experiences that you can count on one hand have very small weight as evidence.
What the Air Force should do is create a good dose of competition, drastically cut the pilot and overall commission slots and payroll from USAFA, and spread them around to other schools, especially the senior military colleges. I’m confident that Texas A&M produces every bit as good of 2nd lieutenants as USAFA, and at a much lower cost.
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