Washington Monthly - September/October 2015 - 26

Title IX of the federal Higher Education Act, by withdrawing into shells of bureaucratic compliance that seriously threaten the ideals of free speech. The U.S. Department of Education will need to be overhauled with enough talent and regulatory muscle to preserve the independence and diversity of the higher education sector while ensuring that all institutions receiving public dollars fulfill their public commitments in exchange. Identifying institutions and leaders that are already leading the nation in this regard is an annual mission for the Washington Monthly college guide. Matthew Connolly's list (page 44) of America's most innovative college presidents shows that it's possible to expand research and provide a great education to large numbers of economically and racially diverse students, even in a perilous financial environment. These women and men lead institutions ranging from community colleges to small historically black institutions to enormous research universities. But in each case, the presidents are intensely focused on the educational well-being of their students, communities, and nation. Similarly, Mary Alice McCarthy describes (page 63) how some states are experimenting with a promising "upsidedown bachelor's degree," in which work-focused students can begin their college careers by spending two years acquiring valuable skills that lead to good jobs, and then completing the broader general education requirements necessary for a bachelor's degree and that credential's long-term benefits in work and life. The challenge is to create an environment of federal regulations and broader societal values that motivates state policymakers and college leaders to make examples like these the rule instead of the exception. For that to happen, Jamie Merisotis contends (page 57), the federal government needs to get its own house in order by reorganizing far-flung agencies into a new U.S. Department of Talent. What's needed most, though, is better information and metrics, including data on student outcomes, so that the incentives that push producers in other markets to provide better quality at lower prices can work in higher education, too. The Obama ratings plan was supposed to serve that purpose. But there is a potential silver lining in its failure. The stillunspecified data elements that the administration has promised to release later this year-the raw material that should have been used to construct new ratings-could include measures of how much money students earn after graduating from individual colleges. This information exists. The U.S. Department of Education has been sitting on it for months. We suspect that paltry results for graduates of a number of expensive private colleges were one of the reasons the ratings plan was scuttled. But the future is undoubtedly one in which more information will emerge about what colleges are doing for their country, instead of themselves. When it does, we'll be ready to identify both the best and the worst, on your behalf. STAND UP and be recognized. STAND STRONG with the smartest way to learn. STAND OUT from the competition. Ask about our NEW programs in: * Business Analytics* * Criminology* * College of Osteopathic Medicine Early Assurance Program (in conjunction with Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine) * Systems Engineering www.otterbein.edu/visit SCHEDULE A VISIT TODAY! 800.488.8144 *Expected approval Fall 2015 26 Columbus Monthly.final.6.30.15.indd September/October 2015 1 7/29/15 5:20 PM http://www.otterbein.edu/visit http://www.otterbein.edu/visit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Monthly - September/October 2015

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