Phi Beta Cons

I’m So Tired

I’m so tired of the federal government coming up with bonuses, penalties, obligations, contests — I think they are called nudges — to make colleges and universities (and other institutions) do what federal officials want them to do. The latest: According to Inside Higher Ed, the administration will create new rules to make education schools increase the quality of their entering students.

Of course, education schools need to be more selective! But it’s not the federal government’s business to pressure them to meet some arbitrary standard — and history shows that such arbitrary standards become evasive, politically determined standards, as in No Child Left Behind.

As a great document said of a king, “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” That’s what the federal government is doing constantly, and it isn’t just the Obama administration, although its officials seem to have perfected the technique.

Jane S. ShawJane 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 ...

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