Serving the public

The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 1995

From Mr. Hirsch’s assertion that the LBJ school “must wake to conservative times,” perhaps the logical conclusion would be to rename the school “The LBJ School of Political Winds” and rehire faculty every time the American political mood changes. Maybe, but I doubt the public interest would be served.

Having attended the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin, I take exception to the June 7 lead article decrying the perceived liberal bent of the school.

Mr. Hirsch plaintively proclaims, “Despite Americans’ growing hostility toward government, the [LBJ School] continues to train students, without apologies, for government service.”

Students are not trained solely for government service. As a nurse practicing in the private sector, I attended the LBJ school to develop the requisite skills to address problems in health care facing this society. Like myself, a large portion of students attending the school are from private-sector fields such as law, communications and business, to list a few.

What all LBJ students have in common is a fundamental desire to serve the public interest. This desire cannot correctly be enjoined exclusively to liberal or conservative political doctrine.

One of Mr. Hirsch’s criticisms was a second-hand report of Professor and former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan emphasizing equality. I was fortunate enough to take Professor Jordan’s Policy Development class where I learned, among many other things, that public service is a high calling. If there was an inappropriate emphasis on equality, it escaped my notice.

From Mr. Hirsch’s assertion that the LBJ school “must wake to conservative times,” perhaps the logical conclusion would be to rename the school “The LBJ School of Political Winds” and rehire faculty every time the American political mood changes. Maybe, but I doubt the public interest would be served.

Toni Inglis, MSN, RN CNS (retired), FAAN, a lifelong Austin resident and retired neonatal intensive care nurse and editor of NursingNews, writes a monthly opinion column for the Austin American-Statesman editorial page.