Border Blind Side
What the Higher Education Commission Didn't See
A revolution is under way in higher education, one that renders paper college diplomas secondary prizes, and makes electronic accounts of learning the standard for graduates competing in a borderless labor market. This revolution is well along in Europe, and will likely soon spread to Latin America, Australia, and elsewhere.
You won’t hear about this revolution or how it challenges your children’s future by reading “A Test of Leadership,” the report issued this fall by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ Commission on the Future of Higher Education. ( "Spellings Unveils Plan for Higher Education," Oct. 4, 2006.) The commission never looked, never asked, even while it noted that “history is littered with examples of industries that, at their peril, failed to respond to—or even notice—changes in the world around them.”
What does the Spellings Commission do on the international front? It notes, with chagrin, that 11 other countries now sport higher rates of “higher education attainment,” though it’s not exactly clear what that means. And it recommends, almost in passing, increased “emphasis” on foreign languages and international studies, a mechanical mantra of just about every national education commission since World War II. But neither of these nods to the rest of the world tells the American public how much other countries are doing in their higher education systems that we aren’t doing—or...
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