The commission’s final report cannot be described as rigorous, as it ignores inchoate and watered-down curricula, grade inflation and other academic problems, and only modestly addresses efficiency, productivity, and affordability.
Vedder’s comments on the significance of the failure of David Ward, the President of the American Council on Education, are worth quoting:
The Ward vote is a sign that, on average, universities are going to fiercely support the status quo, fight innovation, oppose accountability and transparency –yet still demand our financial support. It is time to tie public support for higher education (which is increasingly indefensible, in my judgment, on the basis of any rational analysis) to performance –keeping costs down, showing signs of learning improvements, etc.
The report, in sum, did not go far enough, yet for the higher-education establishment any movement toward addressing the tuition crisis and other problems is too much. Reversing the decline of higher education is going to be a long haul.