AAUP Contests Study That Questions Role of Higher Ed

February 7, 2011

A team of researchers at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education captured considerable attention last week with a new report questioning whether the United States has placed too much of an emphasis on an (unsuccessful) effort to prepare all students for college, when a more vocationally oriented "realistic" approach might yield greater results. On Saturday, Gary Rhoades, the general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, released a statement denouncing the report as based on "a narrowed set of largely class-based educational paths that will reduce rather than expand educational opportunity." Rhoades writes that the vision of the Harvard report is too much like the traditional European approach to education, when the United States has historically had different values. "Part of that commitment is to provide people with multiple opportunities to pursue higher education, not to have their educational and occupational futures determined at the age of 12 or 13. Predetermining a student’s future makes no sense in a world in which occupational paths regularly include numerous career changes," Rhoades writes.

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