The ideas that higher-ed reformers have been throwing around for years have now become common conversation in policy making circles, and even in the scripture of Beltway official-dom: the Washington Post magazine. Last weekend’s piece suggested that colleges need to measure how much students learn, to bring back homework, and to revive the core curriculum, measures that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni has been advocating for some time.
A recent study found that students aren’t learning much at all. The study revealed that students who do learn tend to have had rigorous (hence homework) liberal-arts (hence core) curricula. And a few weeks ago, the panel that advises the education secretary on accreditation also began seriously to debate “delinking” higher-ed accreditors – teams of faculty and administrators that okay one another’s schools for federal funding — from their role as gatekeepers of federal funds, a role that gives them immense power.