New America Foundation Criticizes American Higher Education – Please!

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Times has an op-ed piece written by a representative of the New America Foundation, a supposed non-partisan think tank in Washington D.C. Essentially the piece claims that all of the problems in American K-12 education are present in American higher education. The author, Kevin Carey, discounts the opinions of world education leaders that the United States generally ranks first in international opinion polls for its higher education system. Instead, he bases his claim on a standardized test administered by the Organization for Economic Collaboration and Development.

Mr. Carey concludes:

“This reality should worry anyone who believes — as many economists do — that America’s long-term prosperity rests in substantial part on its store of human capital. The relatively high pay of American workers will start to erode as more jobs are exposed to harsh competition in global labor markets. It will be increasingly dangerous to believe that only our K-12 schools have serious problems.”

This is the same rhetoric that appeared in a government report, A Nation at Risk in 1983, that blamed all of the United States economic woes on the K-12 public schools.   Yet in in the 1990s and through much of this century, the United States enjoyed a period of immense economic growth and prosperity. However, A Nation at Risk, was a convenient ploy used to “reform” our K-12 schools into test-prep centers focusing solely on test scores as the criteria for success. These reforms have failed and the American people are mounting a backlash against this corporate view of education. So Mr. Carey, we say to you and the economists that you refer to, please stay out of education and higher education, and concentrate on reforming economists and corporate America. It is amazing that when America and the rest of the world had the Great Recession in 2008, not a single economist or corporate strategist had predicated its seriousness except possibly those in financial circles who had rigged the system for their own profit that caused the recession in the first place but they were not about to let the rest of the world in on their secret.



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