Peter Wood is President of the National Association of Scholars. This past February he began examining, in a series of meaty blog posts, the eight major components of President Obama’s plans for higher education. I just came across the series yesterday, and simply had to read it all in just two sittings. Wood builds his case well — he shows how the President’s seemingly disparate actions are actually of a piece, each bolstering the other, and each reinforcing an ambitious long-term vision of higher education.
If you are wondering how on earth the federal government’s takeover of the student loan business had anything to do with the much-debated Affordable Care Act, passed in March 2010, stay tuned, and let Dr. Wood explain.
Here are the posts he’s published so far:
That’s as far as he’s gotten so far. But I’ll leave you with a summary of the series in eight sentences, taken from Dr. Wood’s first post. Obama’s higher education vision is that:
(1) The United States needs a massive expansion of undergraduate enrollments.
(2) Colleges and universities should limit tuition increases.
(3) The United States should be a place where, in principle, everyone should go to college.
(4) A college education should convince students to adopt progressive views of “social justice.”
(5) Colleges and universities should aggressively pursue racial preferences in admissions.
(6) Colleges and universities will need to adapt to the de facto nationalization of K-12 curricula being put into place as “voluntary” state standards.
(7) For-profit higher education differs fundamentally from traditional not-for-profit higher education and therefore for-profit colleges should be held to stricter regulatory controls.
(8) Colleges and universities need to prepare more science and math teachers and colleges need to encourage more students to pursue careers in the STEM fields.
Posts 6-8 have not yet been written, so I don’t know what Dr. Wood will say. And I don’t claim to disagree with every aspect of Obama’s vision. For example, I have my own concerns about the for-profit sector, and I think math and science are totally awesome.