Thursday, February 18, 2010

Higher Education's Tunnel Vision

by Daniel L. Bennett

I have a new article on Forbes.com that argues that we have tunnel vision when it comes to focusing our attention on improving graduation rates without first addressing some of the most pressing problems in higher education.
Vast sums of third-party payments from the government have distorted market conditions so far into disequilibrium

Out of control tuition inflation leads to vast expenditures but produces a watered-down educational product that fails to teach graduates the skills they need.

We are focused on quantity rather than quality and on turning out bachelor's degrees rather than vocational aptitude. It would be more appropriate to focus on the latter in both cases.

students are being misdirected to college and set up for failure at a young stage in life, likely with onerous debts that will haunt them for years to come.

a society which increasingly denounces such career paths [vocational, technical or military training] as taboo, creating apprehension among young people and their parents that they must go to college or else failure is imminent.

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