Declining by Degrees by Richard H. Hersh
Higher Education at Risk

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What is actually happening on college campuses in the years between admission and graduation?

Not enough to keep America competitive, and not enough to provide our citizens with fulfilling lives.

When A Nation at Risk called attention to the problems of our public schools in 1983, that landmark report provided a convenient "cover" for higher education, inadvertently implying that all was well on America's campuses.

Declining by Degrees blows higher education's cover. It asks tough--and long overdue--questions about our colleges and universities. In candid, coherent, and ultimately provocative ways, Declining by Degrees reveals:
- how students are being short-changed by lowered academic expectations and standards;
-why many universities focus on research instead of teaching and spend more on recruiting and athletics than on salaries for professors;
-why students are disillusioned;
-how administrations are obsessed with rankings in news magazines rather than the quality of learning;
-why the media ignore the often catastrophic results; and
-how many professors and students have an unspoken "non-aggression pact" when it comes to academic effort.

Declining by Degrees argues persuasively that the multi-billion dollar enterprise of higher education has gone astray. At the same time, these essays offer specific prescriptions for change, warning that our nation is in fact at greater risk if we do nothing.

About Richard H. Hersh

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Richard H. Hersh is a Senior Fellow at the Council for Aid to Education (RAND). He is the former president of Trinity College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. John Merrow is the Peabody Award winning president of Learning Matters, Inc. He is Host and Executive Producer of The Merrow Report on PBS and NPR. He is the former education correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS.
Published June 6, 2005 by Palgrave Macmillan. 256 pages
Genres: Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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While it would be easy enough to raise an alarm about the declining quality of higher education in America by trotting out horrifying statistics and disturbing anecdotes, this book thankfully spends little time doing so.

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Project MUSE

In Chapter 1, Gene Maeroff, former correspondent for the New York Times, reports that media coverage on higher education heavily lags behind that on K-12 education, thereby allowing higher education to escape scrutiny and criticism.

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