Saturday, July 19, 2014

We think we have the world’s best colleges, but don’t

Two outstanding articles by Kevin Carey: the first on how we think we have the world's best colleges, but don't (my view is that our top colleges and universities are the best in the world by far, but below that there's a lot of mediocrity – and true rot at the schools serving our neediest students – just like our K-12 system!):

Americans have a split vision of education. Conventional wisdom has long held that our K-12 schools are mediocre or worse, while our colleges and universities are world class. While policy wonks hotly debate K-12 reform ideas like vouchers and the Common Core state standards, higher education is largely left to its own devices. Many families are worried about how to get into and pay for increasingly expensive colleges. But the stellar quality of those institutions is assumed.

Yet a recent multinational study of adult literacy and numeracy skills suggests that this view is wrong. America's schools and colleges are actually far more alike than people believe — and not in a good way. The nation's deep education problems, the data suggest, don't magically disappear once students disappear behind ivy-covered walls.

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