Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hillary Proposes Free College and Plans To Hold Institutions Accountable

Hillary Clinton has proposed making college free for all, despite the fact that the graduation rate at 2 year colleges after 3 years is less than 30% and the graduation rate at 4 year colleges after 6 years is only 59%, according to The National Center for Education Statistics.

She has also made her proposal despite these facts as reported in a Wall Street Journal Article titled, "Military Officers Don't Need College Degrees":

"According to a 2014 Lumina-Gallup poll, “just 11% of business leaders strongly agree that higher education institutions in this country are graduating students with the skills and competencies that their business needs, and 17% strongly disagree.” In a Chronicle for Higher Education survey published in March 2013, employers said that applicants with degrees lacked decision-making and problem-solving abilities, written and oral communication skills, adaptability, and even the capacity to manage multiple priorities."

The ugly data above notwithstanding, her plan is being viewed favorably by some members of both parties because, as another article in the Journal reports,

" pretends to be serious about holding higher ed accountable. Colleges would supposedly be forced to be more transparent about graduation rates, likely earnings and more. Institutions churning out graduates who can’t pay back loans would be penalized.."

So the idea is to hold colleges accountable for results.  That sounds as good in her speech as it did in President Obama's speech at the University of Buffalo back in August of 2013 where he said:

"First, we’re going to start rating colleges not just by which college is the most selective, not just by which college is the most expensive, not just by which college has the nicest facilities — you can get all of that on the existing rating systems. What we want to do is rate them on who’s offering the best value so students and taxpayers get a bigger bang for their buck."

But it apparently didn't sound very good to the colleges and they let the administration know how they felt.  The result?  About two months ago the administration reversed course and announced the following regarding the plans mentioned in President Obama's speech according to a Washington Post article,

"We have decided the best way to rate colleges is to put the information and the tools in the hands of people who want to make those comparisons, Ted Mitchell, undersecretary of education, said Thursday. Mitchell said that by the end of summer the administration will unveil new Web sites that will allow “dynamic” interaction with federal data. Officials call it a “college ratings tool. We really want it to be revolutionary."  

In other words, we've buckled under pressure from the education industrial complex and decided to do absolutely nothing new in this regard.  The Post article continued by noting that,

"There already are federal Web sites to help consumers and researchers navigate the market, including College Navigator and College Scorecard. To make a splash, the new effort would require giving consumers better access to existing data on such metrics as tuition, financial aid and graduation rates and, possibly, new access to data that has been hard to find or impossible to get. Many consumers want to know more about how much graduates from particular programs earn when they first get out of college and when they are at mid-career. College officials, though, are ambivalent about publication of such data."

If college officials were ambivalent then and got their way, you can bet they'll shoot down any attempts by Hillary or anyone else to hold them accountable.  And of course, neither the President nor Hillary do or will feel any sense of accountability for failing to make good on their college accountability speeches.

The lesson in all of that is that we shouldn't expect anybody other than us to be accountable for the decisions we make for ourselves.  If we choose to "buy" a college education, it is up to each of us to make sure we are getting the best "bang for our buck".

That means we have to spend some quality time educating ourselves about educating ourselves so we can make decisions best suited to our individual circumstances.


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