Notes on Political Change

Deregulate Colleges

“My principal goal in higher education is to deregulate it.” That’s Senator Lamar Alexander speaking. He wants to simplify student aid processes, eliminate consideration of diversity in the accreditation process, ban most scholarships that consider race/ethnicity, and more. And he will be a powerful voice in education in the incoming Senate.

Punish Colleges

Conservative think-tankers Ramesh Ponuru and Yuval Levin argue that colleges should pay back a percentage of any loans on which their graduates default. Will that be taken up by the incoming Congress? And where will the money be found by higher education institutions for the paybacks? (One visible option is to increase even further the percentage of classes taught by part-timers.)

Congressional Inquiries

Will political interference increase with the upcoming changes in Congress? We should worry. “Two years into the latest round of attacks by Congressional Republicans on federally sponsored research, an escalating effort by the House science committee to find fault with the National Science Foundation is taking a growing toll on researchers. NSF grants to some 50 professors across the country are now being investigated by the Republican-controlled committee. More than a dozen of the researchers, in comments to The Chronicle, said they had little idea what the politicians were seeking, but warned of a dangerous precedent in what they described as a witch hunt.” Maybe no stem cell research, no climate change research, certainly no studies of how likely an oil pipeline will spill and impact the environment. What about research on the untruths told by members of Congress? Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 October 2014

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