3-for-3: Taking the Temperature on Obama’s New Higher Ed Initiatives

President Obama speaking at the University of Michigan in Jan. 2012

President Obama speaking at the University of Michigan in Jan. 2012

[NOTE: Because of some important prospectus work that keeps refusing to finish itself, today’s “3-for-3” will be shorter than normal. I’m assuming/hoping Wednesday’s links will return to business-as-usual, but we’ll see.]

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So far, I’ve been using this space to share links to wildly divergent content from all across the Internet, but I’ve been so caught up in reading and thinking about President Obama’s proposed reforms for America’s colleges and universities that I haven’t had time to read about anything else.

(Well, except for all that reading I’ve been doing for my dissertation project — but who wants to read about that on a beautiful Sunday morning?)

For today’s 3-for-3, then, here are three of the most insightful and thought-provoking pieces I’ve read regarding the administration’s new “Race to the Top” initiative for higher education. I don’t agree with everything every one of these people has to say on the subject, but these are important voices that need to be heard as we continue to discuss/debate the right way(s) to make college more affordable without also sacrificing what the word “college” means for students and families in the 21st century.

(I hope to add my own voice to this growing chorus at some point this coming week, but that depends on how my “real job” treats me in the next few days…)

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone!

1. timothy burke, “the method”

Come for the jaw-dropping opening sentence, stay for Burke’s impassioned appeal for a more direct national conversation about the values we share — or don’t share — regarding higher education.

2. tressie mcmillan cottom: “for god, for country, for college, forever”

If you aren’t yet following @tressiemcphd on Twitter, go change that now. [I’ll wait.] Her take on Obama’s higher ed reforms asks some vital questions about how we choose to think about the “credentialing” role of colleges & universities, and about what role the “economic status competition process” plays in major policy decisions about higher ed at the local, state, and national levels.

3. chuck ryback: “let’s see how tenure is doing…”

While the first two links tackle the President’s plan head-on, Rybak asks a very different question in light of Obama’s remarks: How are we talking about the proposed changes, especially as they impact ongoing debates over teachers and tenure? 

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