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Fixing College

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

“American higher education is the envy of the world, and it’s also failing our students on a massive scale.” This is how Senator Ben Sasse begins his informative article in The Atlantic with the hopeful title, “How to Really Fix Higher Ed.” He says, “Rather than wiping the slate clean on student debt, Washington should take a hard look at reforming a broken system.”

He acknowledges that higher education in this country is a national treasure, but at the same time laments that it isn’t producing students ready for the 21st century. “Most young Americans never earn a college degree, and far too many of those who do are poorly served by sclerotic institutions that offer regularly overpriced degrees producing too little life transformation, too little knowledge transmission, and too little pragmatic, real-world value.” We can’t “tinker around the edges,” but need structural changes on college campuses.

Also, we aren’t turning out more educated students. Senator Sasse cites Academically Adrift, the 2011 study of college outcomes. “After freshman and sophomore years, 45 percent demonstrated essentially no learning improvements.” This result parallels many other studies I have cited in these commentaries that question the effectiveness of the current university education model.

This former university president and current US senator provides a list of steps we must take to fix higher education. These include such innovations as: ending the tyranny of four-year degrees, ditching the credit hour, rethinking metrics for teaching and learning, and encouraging corporate-led certification programs.

Colleges need fixing, and Senator Ben Sasse has creative ideas on how to reform a broken system.viewpoints new web version

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