Thoughts on the State of the Union and Education in America

In the Washington Examiner, I discuss some of the president’s anticipated proposals in his State of the Union address today. The president is expected to call for even more increases in education spending. That might not be a good idea, judging from the recent book Academically Adrift. George Leef, of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, argues in the New York Times that rising college attendance rates have led to “lower academic standards” as colleges cater to marginal students who are interested in getting paper credentials, not learning. Leef says that due to “the mistaken notion that the country needs to have far more people going through college, the federal government is making it easier for students to borrow the money for it. Consequently, we will lure more marginal students into college, further increasing the pressure to lower standards. It has been accurately said that college is the new high school; the way we are going, soon it will be the new middle school.”