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ERIC Number: EJ1095274
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
My Favorite Professor, Server IC21: Money Smothering People in Higher Education
Adelman, Clifford
Liberal Education, v101 n4-v102 n1 Fall 2015-Win 2016
Clifford Adleman begins this piece with his statement that the foremost marker of student outcomes in higher education, for the enterprise, for the commentariat, and for legislators, has traditionally been institutional graduation rates. He goes on to note that whatever one thinks of the various ways that marker has been produced, it has now faded to second place and is now replaced by the revised marker of how much money graduates make or will make. Such statistics are presented as the product of the education institutions students attend rather than taking into account other variables such as student behaviors, labor market conditions, and locations of employment. Adleman protests that the US Department of Education sets up a scorecard with "how much didja make?" as its governing tone, and the analysts, like lemmings, immediately plunge into the institutional data (whatever its faults and gaps) to judge colleges for this dollar sign or that dollar sign and for each of the standard stale demographic groups (though some are smart enough to include age at entrance to higher education). He argues that the economic literature has swelled with this royal outcome variable for higher education for years, and with increasingly sophisticated statistical gymnastics, but now it has burst beyond academic journals and has become a sort of emperor. His main objection is that once money alone rules, everything big data can find gets thrown into the rankings machine, and the yowls of college presidents feed it. Adleman's principal fear is that once money dominates educational outcomes, employers become higher education's board of directors. He cautions higher education leaders to step back and ask who actually composes the principal judicial panel ruling on higher education's purposes, successes and failures. Steps are provided to assist the leadership of US higher education in being able to move away from dollar dominance, and extricate itself from a singular purpose of interpretation of education outcomes in terms of future earnings alone.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A