Visions for Fixing Higher Education

“A classmate of mine at what was then a reasonably but not insanely selective Northeastern college has since become an education consultant. “So,” I asked him casually, “what chance do you suppose we would have — ”

“None,” he said, before I could finish my question. “Neither of us would make the cut today. Not even close. It’s that competitive.”

None of this is news to any parent, of course, or indeed anyone who has looked at a newspaper, Web site, carrier-pigeon message or smoke signal in the past decade or so. Indeed, hardly a day goes by without another op-ed or speech decrying the crisis in higher education. With a generation of graduates crippled by the double whammy of unemployment and stratospheric levels of student debt, the conversation about what went wrong and how to fix it has become increasingly toxic and recriminatory. Like the blind men and the elephant, each of these four recent books offers some insights into the dilemma, but a comprehensive vision for reform remains elusive.”

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