Thursday, August 22, 2013

Now Let's Destroy Higher Ed

In a brief piece in today's NY Times the article previews the proposal of the current Administration to get its hands into the higher education system, even further that it has.

The article states:

A draft of the proposal, obtained by The New York Times and likely to cause some consternation among colleges, shows a plan to rate colleges before the 2015 school year based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. The ratings would compare colleges against their peer institutions. 

 This means that the schools will most likely add a new Dean or even VP to oversee the collection, analysis, comparison, of this information, just adding to the already overburdened overhead at American Universities.

Now I did not need the Federal Government to have accomplish this task for me some fifty plus years ago. I gathered the information myself, no Internet, no iPhone, no Facebook. Just a set of paper catalogs, which I really liked, and some hard work. I went through a process of beginning life on my own and never once assumed to rely on the Government.

The piece continues:

... proposal urges colleges to experiment with approaches that reduce costs. The plan mentions so-called competency-based degrees, in which college credits are based not on the hours students spend in classrooms, but on how much they can show they know. 

Another approach mentioned in the plan is online education through what have become known as “massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, which are mostly free.

 Competency? No grade? What is the difference. When I taught electronics some 40 plus years ago the circuit worked or it did not. Try med school, dead or alive. Then we also see them grabbing onto the MOOCs. They are not ready for prime time, and I would guess that not a one in the current Administration has actually take a few to understand their deficiencies. And back to competence, are we having the Administration define what a student must learn? It sounds a lot like that one. Does that means that MIT and Country College of Morris will be measured pari passu, they must teach at the same competency level?

If so then we will create just an extension of our existing Public School system and we know where that got us.

The solution is simple, but now near impossible. Get Government out of higher education, and that means even taking the student money away. Why, because that was the driver for allowing schools to ramp up tuition. The article clearly states:

Almost all of the federal government’s $150 billion in annual student aid is distributed based on the number of students a college enrolls, regardless of how many graduate or how much debt they incur. 

We know we have more than a trillion in Government backed student debt and we are adding to it at the rate of $150 billion a year. That in my opinion is a major driver for escalating student costs. Adding the Government in the mix even more will just send that higher and the quality lower.