Phi Beta Cons

“Hands Off Higher Ed”

Larry Arnn of Hillsdale in WSJ:

Today we watch with trepidation an attempt to establish federal control over all colleges and universities, including our campus. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings wants to extend the testing and standards requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act to colleges. The specific details of what these testing and standards would entail are unclear, but are likely to be determined by education department regulators over the next several months.

President Bush and Ms. Spellings have brought a new approach to education reform at the federal level. They have good motives and a fair appraisal of the situation, at least in K-12 education. But national standards and testing in higher education will only strengthen a bureaucracy that already plagues an otherwise highly competitive system. …

Reform is certainly needed in higher education. But we should be discussing tax credits, not uniform standards. We should be thinking about tax-free saving accounts for college rather than rules and subsidies.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.