Last month, the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Renewing America initiative published a progress report and scorecard on federal education policy, providing striking comparisons between the US system and those found in other developed nations. The report sheds light on the grimmest details of federal education policy and the shortcomings that led to the nation’s decline in worldwide educational rankings.
In the past several years, online higher education has come under increased scrutiny by the federal government and policymakers. As a relatively new trend, online education has been closely examined by some, not so closely examined by others, and has a number of critics. In a recent report called “Odd Man Out: How Government Supports Private-Sector Innovation, Except in Education,” published by the American Enterprise Institute, author John Bailey notes that an acute lack of support and engagement from government agencies to the private sector in education is not only out of sync with other public-private enterprises, it is counterproductive in attempting to reform higher education.
Today is Veterans Day, a day designed to celebrate our nation’s armed forces, their commitment, and their ultimate sacrifices. Though this day comes only once each year, the special individuals to whom it is dedicated deserve our thanks every day. The last year has been a tumultuous one for the entire world and the men and women of the American military have been engaged in various theaters of operations beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last month the Delta Cost Project released its annual report on college spending, Trends in College Spending 1999-2009: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go? What Does It Buy? Examining the decade between 1999 and 2009 the report paints a bleak picture of the current state of higher education spending with very small but notable improvements in specific areas.
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which received bipartisan support for its passage in 2001, requires that states implement a variety of assessment mechanisms for students and teachers in order to qualify for federal education funding. This federal act does not establish criteria to which all states must adhere; the means of assessment are left to each state to implement as it sees fit.
In March 2000, the heads of state of the European Union (EU) nations set an ambitious goal for themselves: to make the EU “’the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion’” by 2010. Known as the Lisbon Agenda, this program aimed to revitalize the nations of the EU that had collectively experienced economic stagnation in the years preceding the agreement.
Today’s higher education environment vis-à-vis the national economic situation has ignited a debate over whether a college degree is worth the cost. Significant budget cuts in many states have meant that colleges are raising tuitions, increasing fees, and offering less in scholarship money to students. Few students had enough money saved to pay for college prior to the economic downturn which has had a catastrophic impact on many schools (see my daily headline postings and links in the “Impact of the Economy on Higher Education” section of my blog for some examples).
In December, I wrote a post about why the frequency of my writing slowed and would continue to slow. The explanation was simple: I had entered a doctoral program and was engaged in the final writing stage of my dissertation. I am pleased to say that I satisfactorily completed all the requirements for my doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania including defending my dissertation.
An August 11th article in The New York Times caught my attention. Written by Tamar Lewin, the article describes a policy brief released by the College Board which concludes that for the most part, recent graduates are carrying “manageable” debt loads. Using data published in the Department of Education’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, the policy brief notes that while the number of students using loans to pay for their post-secondary educations has increased in the last five years, the volume of students who carry overly burdensome levels of debt upon graduation remains small in comparison.
I recently read an interesting article by David Brooks called “The Education Gap.” Published in The New York Times on September 25, 2005, Brooks talks about the ability of colleges to address the inequities between poverty and wealth. He points out the fact that only 28 percent of Americans have college degrees but that most of those with degrees find themselves in social situations where almost everybody has been to college.