Put a bunch of college officials in a room the week after the release of the federal budget proposal, and it's not hard to tell what it contained. Lots of money, lots of smiles (O.K., that doesn't happen a lot).
With a budget like last week's -- full of hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed cuts to programs that colleges hold dear -- the mood is one of uncertainty and frustration. And that was evident Monday at the National Legislative Summit put on annually by the Association of Community College Trustees and American Association of Community Colleges.
It's not often that National Collegiate Athletic Association officials get dragged before Congress and come out smelling like a rose. But that's what happened Thursday at a House hearing on the use of anabolic steroids in sports, and the NCAA has Major League Baseball to thank.
Members of two House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittees raked baseball officials over the coals at the hearing, condemning the league repeatedly for doing too little, and too late, to uncover steroid use and to punish those found to have used the muscle-building drugs.
The numbers are bleak and -- for anyone who cares about the vibrancy of the American economy or the importance of an educated citizenry -- deeply worrisome: the United States has fallen to 17th in the world in high school graduation rates and 7th in college-going rates, and is the only industrialized country whose rates are falling.
And perhaps most troubling of all, the rates are lowest among those segments of the American populace that are growing the fastest.