February 19, 2013

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Blues Missing the Mark on Higher Ed Reform.

As time goes on, we’re seeing a growing consensus of the left, right and center that something is seriously wrong with our higher education system. But while Stiglitz gets the problem right, his solution, that government should be responsible for “leveling the playing field,” leaves much to be desired.

What we’re seeing here is a classic example of what’s good and what’s bad about a “blue boilerplate” approach to a social issue. The good part is that Stiglitz really is concerned, as all serious people should be, about how to ensure that Americans from lower income backgrounds have real opportunities to advance themselves. And he’s certainly right to see the high cost of college education as a barrier.

But when it comes to solutions, the blue blinkers are on. Stiglitz sees a world in which pumping more government money into a dysfunctional system is the only solution to higher ed’s woes.

Indeed.