Blogs > Liberty and Power > Transparency in Academia

Aug 29, 2009 8:18 pm

Transparency in Academia

Colleges and universities are under pressure to reveal more about how successfully they teach their students. Doing so is known as “transparency of student learning outcomes.” A couple of years ago the education secretary, Margaret Spellings, made a big deal of trying to get accreditors to require such information (with mixed success).

At the Pope Center, we have just published a a dialog among reformers and educators that discusses what the role of the federal government, if any, should be in forcing transparency. The discussion uncovers two clear alternatives: “top-down” pressure (mostly from the feds) and a Hayekian decentralized pressure that will arise spontaneously, at least under some conditions.

In this dialog (two more parts will be published later) Neal McCluskey of Cato, Michael Rizzo of the University of Rochester, and I (to a small extent) offer the Hayekian perspective. And Roger Ream of the Fund for American Studies throws a monkey wrench into the entire transparency movement by saying that he has access to all the information he needs, thank you. If the topic interests you, the dialog will, too.

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