Articles of Interest This Week

Ashley Thorne

I was out of town earlier this week visiting family and have since been getting caught up on the latest happenings in higher ed. In case you were on spring break too, I thought I'd share some of my findings. While I was playing golf in Texas, George Leef and Richard Vedder were debating Margaret Spellings on whether we need more college graduates; the group By Any Means Necessary was campaigning to reverse California's ban on racial preferences; David Horowitz was sitting in class at UMass Amherst investigating classroom indoctrination; and Anne Neal and others were asking Arne Duncan to address credit transfer problems.

So for your perusal, here are this week's must-reads: 

Airy Rhetoric Versus Gritty Reality, George Leef, PopeCenter
PopeCenter president George Leef and Center for College Affordability and Productivity President Richard Vedder took part in a PBS televised debate last week over the question, “Does the United States need more college graduates to remain a world economic power?” Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund, argued the affirmative side and were challenged by Leef and Vedder. In this article, Leef summarizes the arguments on both sides and explains why putting more students through college is a bad idea. 

Saving the Life of the Mind [subscription required], Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education
An introduction to the Chronicle’s special report on the future of the liberal arts: “As pressure mounts to produce skilled workers, colleges try to promote intellectual values.”

Philosophy, for Profit [subscription required], Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education
This article is part of the special liberal arts report. It profiles the American Public University System’s online, for-profit, marketed-to-soldiers, liberal arts model, where the provost says, “I want online

What Will Replace Behemoth State University? Robert C. Koons, Public Discourse
New technological developments and pressing national needs suggest that the future of higher education may be friendlier to the classical tradition of liberal education, writes Koons, president of NAS’s Texas affiliate. 

How Bad is the Indoctrination in Our Colleges? David Horowitz,
David Horowitz visits a class at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and witnesses firsthand how professors supply students with ready-made conclusions. 

The Tortured Logic of BAMN, Mark Bauerlein, Minding the Campus
The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (or BAMN for short) is on a campaign to strike down Proposition 209, which bans racial preferences in the state of California, by attacking Ward Connerly. Two years ago, BAMN also tried to strike down Michigan’s ban on racial preferences; see Terry Pell’s NAS article on the group’s failed attempt to reinstate affirmative action. 

Higher Ed Experts Urge Secretary of Education to Tackle Transfer Policies, Press Release, American Council of Trustees and Alumni
Five higher education experts—Anne Neal, Kevin Carey, Frederick M. Hess, Richard Vedder, and Mark Schneider—urge Education Secretary Arne Duncan to work on improving credit transferability in order to increase graduation rates. 

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