Where in President Obama's plan for evaluating institutions of higher education is the role that a college or university plays in preparing students for community service, for lives of responsible citizenship?
My deepest concern is the intention to rate colleges and universities in part on the earnings of graduates. The message this sends to our youth, and to our educators, is "Forget the professions which serve critical societal needs, but which won't make you rich."
President Obama's populist rhetoric bashing colleges on cost and accountability was surely a crowd-pleaser; and there's just enough truth in his criticism to make his plan seem, at the very least, important if not brilliant. But the plan masks a big lie. Actually, several big lies.
These students and their families cannot bear additional costs. The president's proposal, although it might lower interest rates very slightly in the first year, will ultimately allow those rates to rise uncontrollably.
The excitement that typically surrounds college acceptance letters coming into households around the country is now being tempered by more than a little trepidation. The cost of college combined with a troubled economy means tough choices for prospective students.
As our country faces the economic, social, cultural, and global challenges of the 21st century, the way to keep the American dream within our grasp is to provide more, not less, access to higher education.
Asking colleges and states to take on more of the cost of reforms will lead to bigger tuition increases, not smaller ones. Something must be done, but experienced educators will tell you this "new" plan isn't the way to go.