Phi Beta Cons

Our Way or the Highway

Sometimes it’s hard to know who is more arrogant—university faculty who “know it all” or government appointees who do the same. Today, the winner is a federal appointee. Jamienne S. Studley is outgoing deputy secretary of education, and had a major role in developing the College Scorecard system.

Interviewed by InsideHigher Ed, she was asked:

And do you think this administration has acted too much like it has the answers?

She replied:

It’s our job to have the objectives and the goals that we want. And to leave as much room for the how as is possible, navigating our statutes. But also especially whether people step up. … The more we can say we all need to get to this level of rigor, or we need to get to campus community life that is safe for everybody who is there, the less we have to prescribe.

. . .

Arne Duncan [put] emphasis on humility and that the field knows better how to do what they came to do. But they need to do it within the framework and both targets and constraints that we set to make sure that it’s within bounds….

If that sounds like bureaucratese, let me highlight: First, “it’s our job to have the objectives we want.” While there is some room for colleges and universities to figure out “how” to achieve those objectives, “they need to do it within the framework and both targets and constraints that we set….” 

More succinctly, it’s “our way or the highway.”

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

Most Popular

White House

The Problem Isn’t Just the GOP, Mr. Comey

During a CNN town hall on Wednesday night, James Comey alleged that the Republican party allows President Trump to get away with making inappropriate statements without holding him accountable. “If the Republicans, if they just close their eyes and imagine Barack Obama waking up in the morning saying someone ... Read More
Law & the Courts

‘Judges for the #Resistance’

At Politico, I wrote today about the judiciary’s activism against Trump on immigration: There is a lawlessness rampant in the land, but it isn’t emanating from the Trump administration. The source is the federal judges who are making a mockery of their profession by twisting the law to block the Trump ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Friendships Are America’s Asset

The stale, clichéd conceptions of Donald Trump held by both Left and Right — a man either utterly useless or only rigidly, transactionally tolerable — conceal the fact that the president does possess redeeming talents that are uniquely his, and deserve praise on their own merit. One is personal friendliness ... Read More
U.S.

Columbia 1968: Another Untold Story

Fifty years ago this week, Columbia students riding the combined wave of the civil-rights and anti-war movements went on strike, occupied buildings across campus, and shut the university down. As you revisit that episode of the larger drama that was the annus horribilis 1968, bear in mind that the past isn’t ... Read More
Culture

Only the Strident Survive

‘I am not prone to anxiety,” historian Niall Ferguson wrote in the Times of London on April 22. “Last week, however, for the first time since I went through the emotional trauma of divorce, I experienced an uncontrollable panic attack.” The cause? “A few intemperate emails, inadvertently forwarded ... Read More