Introductory Remarks: John Leo, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute, Editor, MindingTheCampus.org
In his highly-praised new book, The Lowering of Higher Education: Why Financial Aid Should Be Based on Student Performance, Jackson Toby, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, challenges conventional wisdom about what colleges should do and are doing.
After a half-century of teaching, Toby concludes that our current system too often gives high school students the impression that college is an entitlement rather than a challenge. Lax standards and grade inflation contribute to the “dumbing down” of high school education; once students believe that some college will take them, despite their minimal effort in high school, why should they bother to reach for excellence? Toby argues that need-based aid, free from all expectations of merit, contributes to the downward slide of college education in the United States. He proposes an innovative solution: Base financial aid solely on academic performance. This, he argues, will create a compelling incentive for students to develop serious attitudes and study approaches in high school.