Is class choice fueling the very problems that anger Occupiers?


In the podcast I just posted, Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni explains why she thinks students should have less choice in their college classes:

“When we look at college and university curricula today, what we find is they are pretty much “anything goes.” …

(Students) are being asked to construct their own curriculum. This is a distinct contrast with curricula in the past, where college and university professors and administrators pointed students to what they needed to know: the skills and knowledge that would help them succeed after graduation.

(There are) clear indications that students are leaving with dribs and drabs rather than a coherent educational framework.”

Such a free-flowing system, she says, also makes it harder for students to graduate on time:

“Faculty and administrators are finding that the more choice you give, the more likely it is that students will have detours or change their minds or not be sure. … Because there’s so much choice, it’s very easy to retard a student’s progress through school.”

More choice also means higher college costs — a big complaint of the Occupy Colleges movement:

“When colleges and universities open course after course after course and never close them, the price tag rises. So I think that colleges and universities could reduce costs by actually having a more coherent academic program, cutting back on low enrollment or outdated programs, and really directing students toward what they need to know.”

You can listen to Neal’s chat with American RadioWorks podcast host Stephen Smith here.