The Agenda

A First Step Towards Comprehensive Higher Ed Reform

Kelly Field of the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the bipartisan Student Right to Know Before You Go Act of 2013, which aims to provide students and parents with reliable information on earnings by program of study and state of employment, cumulative debt levels, transfer rates, and graduation rates at U.S. coleges and universities. The higher education lobby has fought similar measures in the past on the grounds that a federal “unit record” system threatens the privacy of students, and so students and parents have no reliable way of knowing, for example, how many Pell Grant recipients at a given school actually graduate within five years. This data can be anonymized, and so the privacy concerns are almost entirely a canard. But the widespread availability of reliable data on student outcomes would, for obvious reasons, represent a grave threat to colleges and universities that offer a substandard education and that leave many students with heavy debt loads and little else. Opponents of the legislation are now turning to delaying tactics — some are calling for further study to determine the data students want on outcomes, as though we will somehow discover that students don’t really care about graduation rates and debt levels and earnings by program of study after all. It could be that students would prefer to know which colleges party the hardest. I doubt it, but it’s at least possible. Yet data on things like graduation rates and debt levels and earnings are presumably of great interest to parents and to taxpayers, which seems like reason enough to pass the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act, and indeed to go further in the direction of creating a unit record system.

Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Great Mystery

Kevin Williamson disputes my characterization of his riposte. He writes: I wrote that people can choose what kind of work they want to do, and what kind of services they want to consume, without any help from Michael. Kevin then accuses me of being a stouthearted defender of the “Real America.” If ... Read More

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More

An Insider’s Guide to Italian Insults

The tragicomic irony of Chris Cuomo’s pugilistic outburst earlier this week — cursing and physically threatening a man for taunting him with a reference to the movie The Godfather — is that the CNN anchor reinforced the usual tropes about Italian Americans. We are all wise-guys, goons, and Mafiosi, just ... Read More

It’s Time for Trump to Troll China

Donald Trump has a nuclear-grade weapon that he operates with a special phone: his Twitter account. And it’s time he used it against Chinese president Xi Jinping. Trump has reportedly promised Xi that he would not make critical comments about internal Chinese issues. By “issues” we mean concentration ... Read More