Higher Education Rulemaking: The Politics of Creating Regulatory Policy

JHU Press
Free sample

Many higher education academics and administrators have only vague notions about how the federal government makes regulations governing colleges and universities in the United States, and yet these regulations control many important aspects of the operation of these institutions. What happens after legislation affecting higher education is signed into law? How are specific provisions implemented—especially when the statute’s details are unclear? And who determines the details of the programs that a particular law has authorized?

In this concise and informative book, higher education policy expert Rebecca S. Natow explores the how and why of the federal regulatory policymaking process as it pertains to higher education, financial aid, and student loan debt. Drawing on in-depth interviews with policy and higher education actors, as well as an extensive review of specific regulations and documents, Natow explains who influences higher education rulemaking and how their beliefs and surrounding contexts guide the policies they enact. She also examines the strategies and powers employed during the process, reveals how technology affects the creation of higher education rules, delves into the multifaceted implications of regulation for students and institutions, and discusses future prospects for higher education rulemaking.

The first comprehensive, research-based account of this important policymaking process, Higher Education Rulemaking will serve as a valuable resource for scholars, researchers, policymakers, and higher education professionals.

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About the author

Rebecca S. Natow is a senior research associate with the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is coauthor of The Politics of Performance Funding for Higher Education: Origins, Discontinuations, and Transformations and Performance Funding for Higher Education.

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Additional Information

Publisher
JHU Press
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Published on
Dec 11, 2016
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Pages
216
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ISBN
9781421421476
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / Federal Legislation
Education / Higher
Political Science / Public Policy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The landscapes of higher education have been changing rapidly, with enormous growths in participation rates in many countries across the world, and major developments and changes within institutions. But the languages that we need to conceptualise and understand these changes have not been keeping pace. The central argument in this book is that new ways of thinking about higher education, the new languages of its title, are needed to understand the role of universities and colleges in contemporary society and culture and the global economy, new landscapes. Over-reliance on existing conceptualisations of higher education, has made it difficult to understand fully the nature of 21st-century higher education. It may also have encouraged a view that there is no alternative to the development of more marketized forms of higher education. The analysis offered suggests that the future is much more open. It argues that familiar categories, normally accepted as givens, are actually more fluid. 'Systems' of higher education, whether expressed through direct public funding or through regulatory regimes, are being eroded. 'Institutions', often assumed to be to be given enhanced agency by more corporate forms of management and governance), are no longer powerful actors, if they ever were. 'Research', often corralled by assessment and management systems, is becoming more diffuse and distributed. 'Learning', supposedly more focused on skill outcomes and employability, retains a more broadly educative function. The 'publicness' of higher education has not disappeared as public funding has diminished, but taken on new forms. With contributions from leading figures, drawn from a wide range of countries, this book provides an authoritative analysis of many of the major issues which dominate discussion with respect to policy, practice and research in the field of higher education, and it can expect to become a major source book for all who are interested in the development of higher education in the 21st Century.
During the 1990s, rising tuition costs and inadequate federal grant aid prevented more than a million otherwise qualified, low-income students from continuing their education past high school. Education policy expert Edward P. St. John is troubled by this situation and argues that equal access to higher education is both feasible and just. In Refinancing the College Dream, he examines recent trends in public funding of education and explores alternatives to financing which would provide equal access to postsecondary education for all Americans.

The growing gap in the rate of participation in higher education for low-income groups compared to upper-income groups over the past three decades, St. John finds, has been a direct result of the decreased availability of federal grants, even after taking into account such factors as an increased emphasis on strengthening high school graduation requirements. To reverse this trend, he suggests that policymakers refocus the debate over the public financing of higher education from taxpayer costs to principles of social responsibility and justice, along with economic theories of human capital. He then shows how improved coordination between state and federal agencies, expanded use of loans, and better targeting of grant aid can maximize access for low-income students while minimizing increases in taxes.

Making higher education accessible to low-income students is one of the crucial challenges for citizens and policymakers in the early twenty-first century. Refinancing the College Dream offers a theoretical and practical foundation for boldly rethinking the financial strategies used by colleges and universities, states, and the federal government to accomplish this essential goal.

-- Joseph M. Cronin
Performance funding ties state support of colleges and universities directly to institutional performance on specific outcomes, including retention, number of credits accrued, graduation, and job placement. The theory is that introducing market-like forces will prod institutions to become more efficient and effective. In The Politics of Performance Funding for Higher Education, Kevin J. Dougherty and Rebecca S. Natow explore the sometimes puzzling evolution of this mode of funding higher education. Drawing on an eight-state study of performance funding in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington, Dougherty and Natow shed light on the social and political factors affecting the origins, evolution, and demise of these programs. Their findings uncover patterns of frequent adoption, discontinuation, and re-adoption.

Of the thirty-six states that have ever adopted performance funding, two-thirds discontinued it, although many of those later re-adopted it. Even when performance funding programs persist over time, they can undergo considerable changes in both the amount of state funding and in the indicators used to allocate funding. Yet performance funding continues to attract interest from federal and state officials, state policy associations, and major foundations as a way of improving educational outcomes.

The authors explore the various forces, actors, and motives behind the adoption, discontinuation, and transformation of performance funding programs. They compare U.S. programs to international models, and they gauge the likely future of performance funding, given the volatility of the political forces driving it. Aimed at educators, sociologists, political scientists, and policy makers, this book will be hailed as the definitive assessment of the origins and evolution of performance funding.

-- Donald E. Heller, College of Education, Michigan State University
From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, “whistle-blower extraordinaire” (The Wall Street Journal), author of the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System (“Important and riveting”—Library Journal), The Language Police (“Impassioned . . . Fiercely argued . . . Every bit as alarming as it is illuminating”—The New York Times), and other notable books on education history and policy—an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
​In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroy public schools in this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and dropout rates are at their lowest point.

​She argues that federal programs such as George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top set unreasonable targets for American students, punish schools, and result in teachers being fired if their students underperform, unfairly branding those educators as failures. She warns that major foundations, individual billionaires, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are encouraging the privatization of public education, some for idealistic reasons, others for profit. Many who work with equity funds are eyeing public education as an emerging market for investors.
​Reign of Error begins where The Death and Life of the Great American School System left off, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education, and in a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, putting forth a plan for what can be done to preserve and improve it. She makes clear what is right about U.S. education, how policy makers are failing to address the root causes of educational failure, and how we can fix it.

​For Ravitch, public school education is about knowledge, about learning, about developing character, and about creating citizens for our society. It’s about helping to inspire independent thinkers, not just honing job skills or preparing people for college. Public school education is essential to our democracy, and its aim, since the founding of this country, has been to educate citizens who will help carry democracy into the future.
#1 bestselling author and popular radio and television host Glenn Beck considers the hot-button issue of education in the US, exposing the weaknesses of the Common Core school curriculum and examining why liberal solutions fail.

Public education is never mentioned in the constitution. Why? Because our founders knew that it was an issue for state and local governments—not the federal one.

It’s not a coincidence that the more the federal government has inserted itself into public education over the years, the worse our kids have fared. Washington dangles millions of dollars in front of states and then tells them what they have to do to get it. It’s backdoor nationalization of education—and it’s leading us to ruin.

In Conform, Glenn Beck presents a well-reasoned, fact-based analysis that proves it’s not more money our schools need—it’s a complete refocusing of their priorities and a total restructuring of their relationship with the federal government. In the process, he dismantles many of the common myths and talking points that are often heard by those who want to protect the status quo.

Critics of the current system are just “teacher bashers”…Teachers’ unions put kids first...Homeschooled kids suffer both academically and socially…“local control” is an excuse to protect mediocrity…Common Core is “rigorous” and “state led”…Critics of Common Core are just conspiracy theorists…Elementary school teachers need tenure...We can’t reform schools until we eradicate poverty…school choice takes money away from public schools…Charter schools perform poorly relative to public schools.

There is no issue more important to America’s future than education. The fact that we’ve yielded control over it to powerful unions and ideologically driven elitists is inexcusable. We are failing ourselves, our children, and our country. Conform gives parents the facts they need to take back the debate and help usher in a new era of education built around the commonsense principles of choice, freedom, and accountability.
Seeking greater accountability in higher education, many states have adopted performance funding, tying state financial support of colleges and universities directly to institutional performance based on specific outcomes such as student retention, progression, and graduation. Now in place in over thirty states, performance funding for higher education has been endorsed by the US Department of Education and major funders like the Gates and Lumina foundations. Focusing on three states that are regarded as leaders in the movement—Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee— Performance Funding for Higher Education presents the findings of a three-year research study on its implementation and impacts.

Written by leading authorities and drawing on extensive interviews with government officials and college and university staff members, this book · describes the policy instruments states use to implement performance funding; · explores the organizational processes colleges rely on to determine how to respond to performance funding; · analyzes the influence of performance funding on institutional policies and programs; · reviews the impacts of performance funding on student outcomes; · examines the obstacles institutions encounter in responding to performance funding demands;· investigates the unintended impacts of performance funding.

The authors conclude that, while performance funding clearly grabs the attention of colleges and leads them to change their policies and practices, it also encounters major obstacles and has unintended impacts. Colleges subject to performance funding are hindered in posting good results by inappropriate performance measures, insufficient organizational infrastructure, and the commitment to enroll many students who are poorly prepared or not interested in degrees. These obstacles help explain why multivariate statistical studies have failed to date to find a significant impact of performance funding on student outcomes, and why colleges are tempted to resort to weakening academic quality and restricting the admission of less-prepared and less-advantaged students in order to improve their apparent performance.

These findings have wide-ranging implications for policy and research. Ultimately, the authors recommend that states create new ways of helping colleges with many at-risk students, define performance indicators and measures better tailored to institutional missions, and improve the capacity of colleges to engage in organizational learning.

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