Sunday, June 8, 2014

Push back from another source . . .

I enjoyed reading this article in about college officials pushing back against the latest federal education initiative to rate colleges based on factors such as how many students graduate, how much debt students carry, and how much money graduates earn.  Welcome to the NCLB accountability club where federal funding is held hostage; conform to the one size fits all federal plan or lose funding.

Others worry about the one-size-fits-all measure, when colleges have different missions. Moreover, certain criteria reveal more about the ideology of those rating the schools than the quality of the schools themselves. For example, those ranking a school based on its graduates' earnings value high salaries over professions such as teaching, social work, or other important, but not lucrative, jobs.

Williams College president Adam Falk decried the rating plan as "oversimplified to the point that it actually misleads."

Wendy Lecker, author of the post, believes enough is enough and challenges college presidents and all of us to fight back.

It is high time for university presidents, good government groups and others to join public school advocates in demanding that the democratic purpose of our public schools be restored, lest no one remain when the profit-seekers come for them.

The article makes me reflect on my beliefs.  I don't believe that I am in complete agreement with Lecker, but with each new federal initiative or mandate I get closer, especially with comments like the one below.

“It’s like rating a blender. This is not so hard to get your mind around.”

This is what  Jamienne Studley, a deputy under secretary at the Education Department, told a group of college presidents who were meeting to talk about President’s Obama’s plan to rate colleges with the apparent aim of driving out of business schools that don’t meet the administration’s definition of success.

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