The Commission on the Future of Higher Education has posted a "Pre-Publication Copy September 2006" of its final report, "A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education." What will be the future of the report -- the Commission's roadmap for reforming higher education?
Another recent report, "Measuring Up 2006" from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, reveals continuing erosion in a number of the Commission's most strategic objectives. For example, the affordability of access as measured by the percentage of family income required to pay net tuition at public universities continues to decline in many states. This decline implies that the per-student institutional expense of providing services continues to increase at many public universities, and that is another of the Commission's concerns. Together the two reports (from the Commission and the NCPPHE) give policy makers good reason to take action.
It's already clear that Secretary Spellings is taking the Commission's report seriously. She will "outline a plan for acting on the recommendations at a news conference in Washington on Sept. 26," according to the article U.S. education chief backs panel's call for college reforms: Margaret Spellings, visiting Austin, supports financial aid boost, increased accountability by
Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, Austin American-Statesman, September 11, 2006
Readers who subscribe to the Chronicle of Higher Education can access a collection of recent updates and opinion pieces on the Commission's work:
- Education Department Plans Rule-Making Sessions to Deal With Some of Federal Commission's Ideas
Stephen Burd, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 21, 2006
- Speaking in Dissent: David Ward of ACE Explains Why He Didn't Sign Commission's Report
Interviewed by Jeffrey Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 24, 2006
- Member of Federal Panel on Higher Education Is Tapped for Key Post at Education Department
Jeffrey Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 30, 2006
- The Commission's Report: Landmark or Footnote?
A Chronicle Interview with Charles Miller (Chairman, Commission on the Future of Higher Education), Jeffrey Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 30, 2006
- Education Department Mined Hundreds of Students' Records as Part of FBI Antiterrorist Operation
Jeffrey Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 31, 1005
- Plenty of Ideas About Student Aid, but No Road Map: Proposals on access lack specificity, students and college officials complain
Stephen Burd, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2006
- Lengthy Fights Are Expected Over Measures on Accountability: Higher-education leaders are divided over proposal for student-tracking system
Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2006
- Commission Calls Colleges 'Self-Satisfied' and 'Risk Averse:' Critics say report fails to recognize innovation on U.S. campuses
Elyse Ashburn, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2006
- Underinvesting in the Future
Douglas C. Bennett (President, Earlham College), Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2006
Note: Bennett's report is of special relevance to the theme of this blog, for he asserts that "the commission also undercuts its recommendation to meaningfully assess student-learning outcomes by repeatedly calling for development and diffusion of technology-based, more efficient (cheaper!) educational methods — without apparently having any evidence that technology-based instruction achieves quality at lower cost." He's wrong about that, for the Commission directly references the work of the National Center for Academic Transformation with multiple institutions to demonstrate that technology can indeed be used to redesign high-enrollment courses for measurably improved learning, increased flexibility for students, and lower per-enrollment costs. See the sidebar description of this work on page 20 of the report, or go to the NCAT website to learn more.
- Both Lamp and Mirror
Deborah M. Diroce (President, Tidewater Community College), Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2006
- Science and Math Take Money
Michael V. Martin (President, New Mexico State University), Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2006
- Give Us the Tools
Frank H.T. Rhodes (President Emeritus, Cornell University), Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2006
- More Than Competition
Lee S. Shulman (President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching), September 1, 2006