The Heck with Reality, Let’s Be Aspirational

A new five-year plan for the University of North Carolina system, analyzed by the Pope Center’s Jenna Ashley Robinson, has some interesting elements. One is that it was produced by the systems’ first Republican-majority Board of Governors. They decided that the system’s universities must use the Collegiate Learning Assessment test to see what kind of job they’re doing (and they must publicize the results). The system’s faculty is not all that happy about it; they see the GOP Governors challenging their control of the-curriculum.

Another part of the plan that the faculty objects to (and rightly so) is a directive for the state to increase the percentage of college graduates among the adult population from 28 percent to 37 percent by 2025. North Carolina already subsidizes its higher-education system much more than the surrounding states, and the faculty assembly wonders where all those college-ready students are that aren’t already getting their degrees. With only 19 percent of the state’s jobs requiring four-year degrees, the goal smacks of disastrous Soviet-style central planning. But the system administration fought hard for an “aspirational” goal, rather than one that reflects reality.

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