A Ray of Light
Posted by PLaplace on April 10, 2010
Good news came my way today in the form of sensible statements by Obama administration officials. In an interview with the Huffington Post (article here) Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes had this to say:
“You’re correct, some universities are running up tuition increases far above the rate of inflation,” Duncan said. “But you see other universities doing some really creative things. You see some universities going to three-year programs, basically taking out of their expenses. You see other universities going to no-frills campuses.”
“And so students and parents are very, very smart,” he added. “They’re sophisticated. They’re going to vote with their feet, they’re going to go where they can get a great education but getting the good value along with that. And folks that don’t contain cost, I think, frankly are going to lose market share, lose competitive advantage.”
Though March brought a great deal of bad news on the governmental front, it is heartening to see that at least some members of the administration have a respect for and at least a basic understanding of market mechanisms. Before being appointed to the cabinet, Duncan was head of the Chicago public school system, and he has a history of support for school choice oriented reforms. It’s a pity these ideas weren’t put forward when it came to health care, but seeing them applied to education will be of some consolation. If Duncan can successfully push for this approach in the administration’s handling of education, then he will have my praise.
On another note, in the HuffPo article itself, the author takes a moment after the quotation to offer his position on education: blur the line between different colleges, “open up the application process,” and “convince” colleges to “keep tuition low and recruit more students.” I can’t help but be struck by this plan’s basic similarity to another newly minted government entitlement program. I have a fear this may well be the left’s solution to most every problem.