Discussion Session Comments by
Howard Gardner and John Hennessy
THERE IS SO much here that I cannot possibly respond to everything that has been said. Let me first offer a few comments that may be controversial and challenge some of our accepted thinking—including some of my own. The first observation I would make cuts across the two sets of remarks by our commentators. It concerns the stratification issue in higher education.
The difference in circumstances between Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton—the top-tier places in terms of wealth— and everybody else is dramatic, and so it is not surprising to hear what John reported about Stanford’s ability to provide more money to students who really need it, and more services for the students who really need them. The same thing is true at Princeton. It cannot be true at more than five or six places, maybe ten; and this tiny number of institutions together educates a very, very small fraction of the student population. Much more research needs to be done on both the extent of stratification (measured in many ways, not just in terms of money), and what all of this is going to mean over time. This is, I think, a big question.