The meetings of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education tend to make one's head hurt.
That's not a commentary on the quality of the ideas expressed (which, as for any committee of its type, run the gamut) but of their volume. With 20 commissioners and panel after panel of guest speakers offering their own views and recommendations and pet concerns, it sometimes seems as if the commission could spread itself too thin, or collapse under its own weight, by taking on too many issues in a scattershot way.
As the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education wrapped up its fourth meeting last week, higher education's representatives on the panel and college officials who have followed its work closely flashed a few more smiles than they had at past meetings.
Moving with surprising speed, the U.S. Education Department plans to announce Friday that it will hold a series of regional meetings with college officials and others this fall to discuss how it might use the federal rule making process to carry out some of recommendations of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education.
When Democrats won control of Congress in November, the change promised the return to power of some familiar names to many college leaders, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the once and current chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Rep. George Miller of California, who has been a visible and vocal presence as the top Democrat on the House of Representatives higher education subcommittee throughout this decade and now heads the full Education and Labor Committee.