Obama’s Bad Idea Soup
Lots of reactions to Obama’s terrible higher-ed plan in the world today, including my various rants and back-and-forths from Twitter yesterday afternoon.
* Chris Newfield: The Core Problems with ObamaEd.
Since no one wants big tuition hikes, the only way to increase the graduation rate is to make a major public reinvestment, starting with poor colleges with bad rates. But President Obama didn’t call for major restoration or rebuilding of state investment in public colleges, and there is only one minor tool in his auditing kit that would encourage it. His charge that colleges just raise fees and pass on the costs to the taxpayer smacked of Ronald Reagan’s waste, fraud, and abuse paradigm for public services. This can only damage the future case for the new public revenues the sector obviously needs.
Bady said that was the most troubling part of the plan.
Obama “is putting all his chips in the MOOC basket,” he said. “No part of the plan is grounded in the reality-based community; it’s all buzzwords and fantasies that some future technology will magically lower costs. But none of these projects have really advanced beyond the ‘maybe someday it’ll lower costs’ stage; right now, it’s all speculation.”
The president’s reference to “offering colleges regulatory flexibility to innovate” is worrisome, he added, in that Obama may intend to extend online and MOOC programs a special exception from having to prove or demonstrate their value with actual results, “forcing colleges to defund tried and tested programs in favor of flavor-of-the-month Silicon Valley start-up partnerships.”
* And while we’re on the subject! On the phenomenon of bullshit (academic) jobs.
Why has academic admin tripled as teaching staff decline? Is teaching 3x more complicated than it was 50 years ago?—
David Graeber (@davidgraeber) August 22, 2013