ERIC Number: EJ786376
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan-18
Reference Count: 0
Policy Makers Must Recognize Higher Education's 2-Tiered System
Morphew, Christopher C.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n19 pA34 Jan 2008
The news media have extensively documented how many college applicants receive rejection letters from the country's most-elite higher-education institutions. The coverage has focused on the effort and expense that students and their parents put forth, only to be turned away. While many private colleges and universities have always been highly selective, what has changed is the "degree" of selectivity--at the Ivy Leagues and their ilk as well as at lesser-known institutions. Yet there is a striking dissonance between how educational value is viewed by the news media and many students and their families, and how it is viewed by the head of the U.S. Education Department, Secretary Margaret Spellings, and the commission she appointed in 2006 to review the state of American higher education. In this article, the author argues that the United States has at least two different higher-education subsystems. The first serves the vast majority of students, teaching them and helping them to develop literacy and job skills. The other subsystem is much smaller and consists primarily of the top-tier institutions that are receiving record numbers of applications. The author believes that the Spellings Commission's failure to recognize and speak to the existence of the two subsystems of higher education illustrates why many people remain skeptical about the secretary's agenda and don't take the commission or its final report seriously.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Educational Policy, Private Colleges, College Applicants, Job Skills, Selective Admission, Public Officials, Skill Development, Educational Objectives, Educational Administration
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A