At least one congressional representative is not prepared to give higher education a blank check, probably because she worked in it. “If 36 percent of college students can’t think, we’ve failed,” U. S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N. C., said in a luncheon speech at the City Club in Washington, D. C. on May 10, 2011. “Depending on which study you look at, between 30 to 40 percent need remedial education.”
“I had experience with this at Appalachian State.” An educator before entering politics, Rep. Foxx served as president of Appalachian State University.
Her speech was sponsored by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Like the Pope Center, on whose board she serves, Rep. Foxx is based in North Carolina.
Additionally, she finds that “schools are hiding information on how much they spend on remedial education.” As well, she has found ample evidence of grade inflation, including “one study showing 20 percent more As and Bs.”
She also notes the explosion in federal spending on Pell grants, from $12.8 billion in 2006 to a projected $49.4 billion in 2012. Rep. Foxx serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
Yet and still, she joined the bipartisan effort to overturn the gainful employment standard for for-profit colleges. “If it’s going to provide more information, it should apply to everyone,” she said in response to a question about that issue at the City Club.
Indeed, Rep. Foxx sees for-profit colleges in higher education as “analogous to charter schools in kindergarten through 12th grade,” that is, as “competition and a catalyst for change.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia .
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