I spent some time this morning reading the new Education Trust proposal, Tough Love: Bottom Line Quality Standards for Colleges. I’d label it a hard-core liberal approach to reforming our higher education system – it recommends centralized government intervention in the form of withholding Federal grant funding if school do not conform to certain standards. It received prominent endorsement from the New York Times this morning.
There is no question that the issues this paper highlights – low college completion rates, low Pell-eligible enrollment rates at elite institutions, and generally disproportionately poor outcomes for low-income, African-American and Hispanic students – are profound.
It is easy to see that the Education Trust proposals will never work. In order to make their point, they oversimplify the complexity of our higher education system and are naive about the political forces at sway at the federal, state, and local level
It also needs to be said that the inequities…