But he’s right:
Last fall the federal Commission on the Future of Higher Education—the so-called “Spellings Commission”—released its report, meant to be a bold outline for how higher education in America should be reformed to meet the needs of students and the nation in the 21st century. Instead, it is in its major thrusts in my view a national embarrassment.
The medicines proposed for curing the problems will in most cases only make things worse. I focus here on the Commission’s total failure to provide any guidance on what a high-quality, 21st century higher education should in fact be. There are only brief suggestions in the report that reading, writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, mathematical and scientific literacy should be important learning outcomes from higher education. In contrast, much more space is devoted to the need the Commission sees to reduce barriers students might encounter as they seek to transfer credits from one institution to another or from for-profit institutions to traditional colleges and universities even as institutions are criticized for rates of retention to graduation that are too low. The vision of higher education suggested in the report is a cafeteria, “grab and go” system about as far removed from intentional, serious, dedicated, and demanding study as one can get. And in the entire document, the word “faculty” is used only once, in an aside, as if the future strength and vitality of the nation’s professoriate were somehow irrelevant to creating and sustaining excellent higher education in the 21st century.
I doubt he’d want to see an updated, higher education version of "A Nation at Risk,", but he’s surely correct that the Spellings Commission ultimately has little to say about what’s most important in American higher education--its intellectual and cultural content.
Update: Here, by way of contrast, is a Bush appointee who has a clue about higher education, and education generally.