The Lowering of Higher Education in America: Why Financial Aid Should Be Based on Student Performance

The Lowering of Higher Education in America: Why Financial Aid Should Be Based on Student Performance

The Lowering of Higher Education in America: Why Financial Aid Should Be Based on Student Performance

The Lowering of Higher Education in America: Why Financial Aid Should Be Based on Student Performance

Synopsis

After a half-century of teaching, distinguished educator Jackson Toby concludes that all too often, our current system gives high school students the impression that college is an entitlement and not a challenge. The Lowering of Higher Education: Why Financial Aid Should be Based on Student Performance is Toby's unflinching look at this broken system and the ways it can be fixed.

The Lowering of Higher Education documents just how far college admission standards have fallen, then measures the cost of remedial programs for underprepared high school students just to get them to where they should have been in the first place. Toby also pulls no punches on the issue of grade inflation, which rewards laziness while demoralizing hard-working students. In conclusion, Toby proposes an innovative solution: base financial aid solely on academic performance, creating a compelling incentive for students to develop serious attitudes and study approaches in high school.

Excerpt

Professor Reinhold Niebuhr, the Protestant theologian, remarked that we mean well and do ill and justify our ill-doing by our well-meaning. This observation applies to the American approach to education generally and to higher education specifically. We rightly want young people to receive enough education to enable them to function well in an informationdrenched society where better-paid and more interesting occupations increasingly require a high level of verbal and computer literacy. So we pressure children to go to school, to study, to resist the temptation to drop out before graduating from high school, and to go on to college. Excellent advice though this may be for the majority of American youngsters, insisting that every high school graduate should go to college is unrealistic.

Not everyone possessing a high school diploma or a G.E.D. Equivalency certificate is ready for college. Many lack receptivity for reading and studying, perhaps because of interests that colleges do not ordinarily foster, such as playing rock music, perhaps because of unpleasant previous experiences in the educational system, perhaps because of personal disabilities or family circumstances that prevented developing necessary academic skills, or perhaps because they were disengaged in high school, unresponsive in class when they came at all, half-asleep, and unwilling to do assigned homework.

Prepared or not, youngsters hear that they ought to go to college for their own good, and, persuaded by adults, a majority of high school graduates apply, regardless of enthusiasm for further education. (At the present time nearly three-quarters of high school graduates enroll in two-year or four-year colleges, although only about half of those who . . .

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