The education secretary and her higher education commission

    started the right conversation, but missed some key themes,

    Sen. Edward M. Kennedy writes.


Oct. 3, 2006

What Spellings Got Right and Wrong

By Edward <mailto:[log in to unmask]>  M. Kennedy

Last week, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings laid
<>  out a promising
agenda to keep our colleges and universities strong in this demanding age.
As she rightly noted in her
<>  comments on the
report of Commission on the Future of Higher Education, America's public and
private institutions of higher education are the envy of the world.

But as we work to deal with the immense challenges of this rapidly changing
time, it's vital for our colleges and universities - fine as they now are -
to be open to change, and Congress, the Department of Education, and the
higher education community will need to work well together to find the way

The commission <>  and the
Secretary are right to call attention to the nation's unfinished business on
college access, affordability, and accountability. It's unacceptable that
the average student now graduates with $17,500 in student loan debt, 73
percent of all colleges still find it necessary to offer remedial classes
for entering students, and that only 15 percent of African American students
and 10 percent of Latino students obtain bachelor's degrees today, compared
to 30 percent of white students.



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