If America is going to provide real meritocratic opportunity for intelligent and hard-working young people, it cannot merely focus on Ivy League universities or similar private institutions of higher education.
Can students really be taught critical thinking, civics, and citizenship skills in a standardized format that values conformity? Will relying on MOOCs and automation in the long-term turn professors into "delivery managers" and students into automatons and passive consumers rather than citizens?
States are stretched thin. Many states are no longer the major funders for their state universities. Yet state mandates are becoming more aggressive, and voices calling for institutions to change are becoming more discordant and contradictory
Ignorance requires no evidence and no research. It can be endlessly repeated and rapidly spread. It inflames passions. Its pervasiveness wears down those who attempt to combat it. Which brings me to North Carolina Governor Patrick McCrory.
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.
California's public higher education system is dying a slow death. The promise of a cheap, quality education is slipping away. And don't think the slow rot of public education is unique to California: that state's woes are the nation's.
The bottom line is that we all need to be held accountable, but those of us who work in public higher education can't do it alone. America's success is fundamentally connected to the state of our education system.
Universities are not businesses, but they must be run more efficiently. They are not vocational schools, but they must send their students into the world prepared to be both strong citizens and capable workers. And they must continue to be centers of discovery and scholarship.
Since the 1970s the share of the costs of a public college education funded by the taxpayer has dropped precipitously. Now it is typical for state appropriations to cover only 20 percent or less of the actual cost of education in a public university.
Cuts to places like De Anza destroy mass access to a knowledge economy that is led by Apple. Corporate tax avoidance has for decades been a major mechanism of crumbling the social bridging performed by higher ed.