Education Policy – Efficiency

Can colleges be both efficient and serve as the incubator for future discoveries and future leaders?

… public colleges, which serve two-thirds of all four-year college students, are also increasingly expensive and inaccessible, he said. Tuitions there have increased at the same rate as that of the private institutions—about 3 percent above inflation—and promise to increase even more as declining revenue forces states to lessen their support.

Given those pressures, Mr. Ehrenberg said, “it is questionable whether we will be able to increase the fraction of our population that receives college degrees and to reduce the inequality of college-completion rates.”  Chronicle Feb 16, 2009

How does one measure effiency in college programs?

Is the “business model” the correct one to evaluate the success/failure of higher education policy?

College ought not to be merely a place where someone learns “skills” and racks up credentials, but rather an environment and an experience in which students learn, in addition to history and literature and mathematics, also how to begin to navigate the adult civilized world in an adult, civilized, and responsible manner. Their naïve assumptions about life and nature should be tempered by the rigors of discourse, debate, and discussion. Higher education should be training for life as it is — not as it is imagined by the child’s mind.

When colleges adhere to the “business model” they create dangerous expectations for their students and do no service to the larger community.

How do you evaluate a program whose goal is to “train for life as it is?”  Can you make an evaluation in a short time frame when the goals of a program are “life long”?

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Filed under Education, Evaluation, Policy

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