Minority participants aren’t just debating resolutions—they’re challenging the terms of the debate itself.
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Nothing is more American than the belief in second chances. But the latest College Board/National JournalNext America Poll suggests that the choices young people make as they complete high school echo with surprising power throughout their lives.
Underscoring the stakes of the next step teenagers take after completing high school, the poll found that those who advanced immediately to some form of postsecondary education—either to a two- or four-year college or to vocational training—were more than three times as likely to report ever having obtained a degree than those who moved from high school straight into the workforce. Even counting those who are still seeking but haven’t yet obtained a postsecondary credential, the ratio remains 3-to-1.
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In 2011, Cornell political scientist Suzanne Mettler highlighted poll results showing a striking phenomenon: About half of the Americans receiving federal assistance in paying college tuition or medical bills believe they have never benefited from a government social program. The results are evidence of what Mettler has termed “the submerged state”—a series of policies, like tuition tax credits or federally-guaranteed student loans, that are practically invisible to citizens. That invisibility, she argues, erodes public support for the very idea of government playing an active role in people’s lives.
Now in a new book, Degrees of Inequality, Mettler reveals how, over the past 60 years, American higher-education policy has gone from being visible and effective (the GI Bill and the Pell grant program) to being invisible and inefficient ($32 billion in federal funding for for-profit colleges with abysmal graduation rates). Congressional polarization along party lines, it turns out, played a major role, as did plummeting federal and state support for four-year public universities.
I spoke with Mettler about why Republicans and reform-minded Democrats switched positions on for-profit colleges; why the liberal arts are underrated and MOOCs (massive open online courses) are overrated; and why corporate lobbyists are able to achieve so much influence in Washington for relatively little money.
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PED use in baseball merited a Congressional hearing. A similar investigation should be probing into educational institutions’ use of athletics and athletes for profit.
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Are college athletes university employees? It’s a question that has gripped the sports world since January, when a group of Northwestern University football players petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to form a union. The debate has only intensified since March 26, when a regional director in Chicago surprised many by granting the players’ petition.
The backbone of regional director Peter Sung Ohr’s 24-page ruling that the players are employees and thus have the right to form a union was the exhaustive description of the responsibilities and time-consuming demands of Northwestern football players. The judge said the evidence put forth by the team members, led by former quarterback Kain Colter and the College Athletes Players Association, showed that football “student-athletes” at Northwestern spend 40 to 50 hours a week on football-related activities for the duration of the regular season and bowl season, and have a virtual year-round commitment to the program. Thus, they are employees under the National Labor Relations Act, Ohr concluded.
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"The myth of selectivity, that college admissions gets harder with each passing year, is both true and untrue."
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Once upon a time, a summer spent scooping ice cream could pay for a year of college. Today, the average student’s annual tuition is equivalent to 991 hours behind the counter.
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It’s 1859. Your father is a prominent Republican and former member of Congress; soon, he’ll be nominated to run for president of the United States. You’re a fresh-faced 16-year-old, just arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from Illinois. You’re living the dream still shared by students across America: Enrolling in Harvard College. Veritas shall be yours.
And then you fail the entrance exam. Major bummer.
This is not the sepia-toned fever dream of a future history major, suffering night terrors as he anxiously awaits admissions decisions on April 1. No, this was the unfortunate fate of Robert Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s oldest son. He failed the test he needed to get into college because of “limited preparation,” wrote historian James T. Hickey, which presumably means “he didn’t study.”
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A Bachelor of Science from Harvey Mudd College, the small California science and engineering school, is the most valuable college degree in America.
Stanford’s computer science program pays off more than any single major in the country.
For the best dollar-for-dollar investment, nothing beats the University of Virginia.
As those three (all true) facts illustrate, there are many ways to answer the question What’s the most valuable college education in the country? Every year PayScale, the largest private tracker of U.S. salaries, tries to answer the question. This year they released their findings in an elegant site that you can play with here. They also shared their hard data with The Atlantic, which we used to do some further calculations.
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How college education, housing, and transit affect the health status of Americans.
Read more. [Image: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation]