About a month ago, I accidentally published a rough draft — an extremely rough draft — of a series of articles examining the evolution of higher-ed accountability in Virginia in the wake of the 2005 Restructuring Act. Foolishly, I had left the articles on auto-publish while away on vacation. To my horror upon my return, I discovered what had happened and immediately pulled the articles off line. I have spent the time since completing the fact-checking and follow-up interviews.
As it turns out, there were a lot of inaccuracies in the rough draft, as well as important perspectives that were missing. While my over-arching thesis has not changed — I find that higher-ed accountability has been considerably watered down since 2005 — I have modified my original thinking. The Commonwealth is doing more to measure the progress of public Virginia colleges and universities in achieving state goals than I had realized. I make no apologies for my errant thinking in the middle phase of this large, cumbersome research project — the whole point of fact checking and conducting follow-up interviews is to correct mistakes, rectify misperceptions and, if necessary, alter conclusions. But I do regret the confusion caused by premature publication.
In the four-part series, the first part of which appears below, I show how the focus on state higher-ed goals that seemed worthy in 2005 helped make possible the current crisis of higher-ed affordability. There are no “gotchas” in this series. Lawmakers, legislators and university officials are just trying to do their jobs the best they can. But it is time for a course correction. In 2005, the affordability issue was focused on providing higher-ed access to the poor. In the intervening 12 years, it has morphed into an affordability crisis for the middle class. The Commonwealth needs to update its state goals.
If you read the original articles, I beg your indulgence and ask you to read the re-written articles — to correct the inaccuracies of the flawed drafts, if for no other reason, but also to to gain a more nuanced understanding of how higher-ed policy in Virginia has evolved. Thanks.There are currently no comments highlighted.