Over the weekend, tweets from higher ed academics and critics were circulating about a recently published article by Jon Marcus in The Hechinger Report. The article, “Most college students don’t graduate in four years, so colleges and the government count six years as ‘success,’” claimed that colleges have moved the finish line to give themselves credit for success if students graduate in six years. Sometimes, that standard may even be eight years, which is what consumers find reported on the College Scorecard.
I can’t remember how many books and essays I have read over the past two decades that forecasted major changes and disruption to higher education. Some were better than others, but none of them were as notable as Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt’s recently published "The Great Upheaval: Higher Education's Past, Present, and Uncertain Future."
In his cover jacket intro of Alec MacGillis’ "Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America," Craigslist founder Craig Newmark refers to the 1937 Upton Sinclair novel, "The Flivver King: A Story of Ford-America." Newmark contrasts the $30 billion market capitalization of Ford with the $1.5 trillion market capitalization of Amazon. In "The Flivver King," Sinclair blasted Ford for underpaying its workers while forcing them to engage in repetitive and dangerous assembly-line work.
In my last article, I reviewed recommendations for instructional spending policies from The Century Foundation, Third Way and Connecticut Democrat senator Chris Murphy. For this article, I will discuss the Veterans Education Project white paper, referenced in a recent Inside Higher Ed article about the limits of instructional spending tests for college accountability.