Raising the Bar on Higher Ed Debates
In other words, the new wave of higher education reform plans are fundamentally about making it cheaper to go to the same, often mediocre colleges we’ve had for a long time. What we really need is a large number of newer, cheaper, better higher education organizations—not necessarily “colleges” as we know them today—to serve the growing and increasingly diverse population of adults who need learning opportunities of all kinds.
This is actually an area where Republicans and Democrats agree, even if they don’t entirely realize it yet. For example, on many issues—taxes, immigration, abortion, gun control, health care, foreign policy—Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton are diametrically opposed. But Rubio was recently the sponsor of bipartisan legislation aimed at stimulating public-minded innovation in higher education. His calls to improve education data and reform the stifling accreditation system are echoed in the Clinton higher education plan.
Every politician in America has constituents of all political stripes who are anxious about paying for their children’s college education. And every part of the country—red, blue, and in between—has individuals who need to improve their skills and broaden their minds in order to be enlightened, productive citizens. The real higher education reform effort of the future won’t be about left vs. right. It will be about public-minded lawmakers working to overhaul the entrenched special interests of existing schools.