After President Obama announced his plan to created an affordability ranking system for colleges, Republicans went completely insane and warned that it would lead to price controls.
Our first priority is aimed at providing better value for students — making sure that families and taxpayers are getting what we pay for. Today, I’m directing Arne Duncan, our Secretary of Education, to lead an effort to develop a new rating system for America’s colleges before the 2015 college year. Right now, private rankings like U.S. News and World Report puts out each year their rankings, and it encourages a lot of colleges to focus on ways to — how do we game the numbers, and it actually rewards them, in some cases, for raising costs. I think we should rate colleges based on opportunity. Are they helping students from all kinds of backgrounds succeed — (applause) — and on outcomes, on their value to students and parents.
So that means metrics like: How much debt does the average student leave with? How easy it is to pay off? How many students graduate on time? How well do those graduates do in the workforce? Because the answers will help parents and students figure out how much value a college truly offers.
There are schools out there who are terrific values. But there are also schools out there that have higher default rates than graduation rates. And taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing students to go to schools where the kids aren’t graduating. That doesn’t do anybody any good. (Applause.)
And our ratings will also measure how successful colleges are at enrolling and graduating students who are on Pell grants. And it will be my firm principle that our ratings have to be carefully designed to increase, not decrease, the opportunities for higher education for students who face economic or other disadvantages. (Applause.)
So this is going to take a little time, but we think this can empower students and families to make good choices. And it will give any college the chance to show that it’s making serious and consistent improvement. So a college may not be where it needs to be right now on value, but they’ll have time to try to get better.
And we want all the stakeholders in higher education — students, parents, businesses, college administrators, professors — to work with Secretary Duncan on this process. And over the next few months, he’s going to host a series of public forums around the country to make sure we get these measures right. And then, over the next few years, we’re going to work with Congress to use those ratings to change how we allocate federal aid for colleges. (Applause.)
That sounds really great. A one stop resource when parents and students can go to see evaluations of schools so that they can get the most bang for their thousands of bucks.
Who could possibly have an issue with such a practical idea?
Cue, the Republicans.
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce said, “I remain concerned that imposing an arbitrary college ranking system could curtail the very innovation we hope to encourage – and even lead to federal price controls.”
In the zany world of Republican paranoia, the idea of using free market competition to encourage colleges towards more affordable pricing is somehow a backdoor attempt at socialism by the president. Because the government is putting together the rankings, the plan is obviously some sort of Obama plot to destroy American liberty and freedom.
There really is no way around saying this. Republicans are f**king crazy right now. They are seeing evil socialist plots in common sense ideas like college should be more affordable, and students shouldn’t be exploited and gouged by a higher education system that never has to justify tuition increases.
All the president is trying to do is create a little competitive pressure, but Republicans are more than happy to see a socialist monster hiding under the bed, in President Obama’s most capitalistic ideas.
Republicans have lost their minds, and only the most deranged voters could possibly believe that this party is fit to govern.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association