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Letter to the New York Times Magazine

Letter to the New York Times Magazine

September 30, 2007

Letters to the Editor
New York Times Magazine

To the Editor:

There's a fundamental difference between a college choosing the tools it uses to evaluate student learning, and the government picking measures for it ("No Gr_du_te Left Behind," September 30).

In my conversation with Mr. Traub on learning assessments ("No Gr_du_te Left Behind," September 30) I provided important context for NAICU's views on standardized testing that was left out of his article. As a result, the quotes attributed to me do not tell the whole story. Contrary to the impression left in the story, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities supports the choice of institutions to use learning assessments that best fit their unique missions and educational objectives.

What we vehemently oppose is government prescription of those measures through legislation or regulatory action. The private higher education sector is incredibly diverse, representing many different types of missions, student profiles, sizes, and academic offerings. As a result, private institutions rely on a wide array of measurement tools. Prescribing any standardized learning outcome tool would simply not capture the diverse educational work of the nation's 1,600 private colleges and universities.

Sincerely,

David Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Letters to the Editor
New York Times Magazine

To the Editor:

There's a fundamental difference between a college choosing the tools it uses to evaluate student learning, and the government picking measures for it ("No Gr_du_te Left Behind," September 30).

In my conversation with Mr. Traub on learning assessments ("No Gr_du_te Left Behind," September 30) I provided important context for NAICU's views on standardized testing that was left out of his article. As a result, the quotes attributed to me do not tell the whole story. Contrary to the impression left in the story, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities supports the choice of institutions to use learning assessments that best fit their unique missions and educational objectives.

What we vehemently oppose is government prescription of those measures through legislation or regulatory action. The private higher education sector is incredibly diverse, representing many different types of missions, student profiles, sizes, and academic offerings. As a result, private institutions rely on a wide array of measurement tools. Prescribing any standardized learning outcome tool would simply not capture the diverse educational work of the nation's 1,600 private colleges and universities.

Sincerely,

David Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

September 30, 2007

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Letter to the Washington Monthly

Letter to the Washington Monthly

September 06, 2007

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Re: "Inside the Higher Ed Lobby," September 2007

Mr. Adler's essay on the higher ed lobby's priorities misrepresented the driving factors behind the positions taken by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and completely ignored the non-"elite" institutions that enroll 99 percent of college students.

Adler and others who are focused on the practices of the most selective schools need to look beyond the 20 or so elite colleges that obsess them. NAICU represents 940 private colleges across the nation. Some of these are "selective." Most are not. For Adler to imply that NAICU's opposition to legislation that would federalize admissions practices at all American colleges was based on a desire to keep rich students at Ivy League universities is laughable at best.

Most of us Americans admire those well-known, "brand name" institutions, but are, ourselves, the proud alumni of humbler places. We have done fine in life-even without the federal government making managerial decisions for our alma maters.

Of course, if you are poor and get admitted to an Ivy League school, you should seriously consider it. Not only will you get a great education, but will likely pay less than you would at a local public college. The most selective colleges are very generous with grant aid, and practice need-blind admissions.

At NAICU, we put our manpower into promoting the need-based student aid programs. Yes, we also fight inappropriate federal intrusion when we see it. We are proud of our sector's independence from governmental control, and will challenge any proposal that threatens our colleges' ability to fulfill their diverse missions. We do so with a blind eye to political affiliation. Adler, himself, points out our bipartisan lobbying efforts against proposals from even friends such as Sen. Ted Kennedy and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

Adler failed to mention our track record of constructive engagement in the legislative process-embracing good ideas from both sides of the political aisle-and proactive leadership on important national initiatives that serve the public interest.

NAICU not only launched the Student Aid Alliance, which increased the maximum Pell Grant from $2,300 in 1994-95 to $4,050 in 2003-04, but Campus Cares, a national effort to highlight and encourage more college involvement in local communities, and Your Vote, Your Voice, an initiative that promotes student civic and electoral engagement on campuses nationwide.

We are committed to enhancing institutional transparency and our accountability to the marketplace. In late September, NAICU will launch U-CAN (the University and College Accountability Network), a free, online, and comprehensive college consumer information tool. The user-friendly web site will give easy access to a wealth of data on hundreds of private colleges and universities, which is not available any where else in a central, consumer-friendly format. The content of the U-CAN web site (www.ucan-network.org) as well as its design, were driven by focus groups with prospective students and parents, conducted over the past year.

Where did this idea come from? We listened to the valid concerns of vocal critics on the college cost issue, such as Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), the Spellings Commission, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), and Rep. John Tierney (D-MA). With U-CAN, we are taking their good ideas and implementing a source of better consumer information to help students and parents select the best college. This includes data on each college's recent pattern of tuition increases, average student debt at graduation, and more.

Finally, NAICU is guilty as charged by Mr. Adler of meeting with Hill staff and encouraging our member colleges to engage in the political process. NAICU's government relations staff has many years of experience working on the nuts and bolts of higher education policy as congressional staff members, including serving on both sides of the aisle on many important legislative initiatives affecting college students and their families, as well as NAICU member institutions. College presidents are on the front lines working to give students an accessible, affordable, and quality academic experience. It is only natural for Hill staff to take time to listen to the well-informed concerns and recommendations of their constituents and the organizations that represent them on federal policy matters-and not just Washington think tanks.

Sincerely,

Sarah A. Flanagan
Vice President for Government Relations and Policy
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

 


Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Re: "Inside the Higher Ed Lobby," September 2007

Mr. Adler's essay on the higher ed lobby's priorities misrepresented the driving factors behind the positions taken by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and completely ignored the non-"elite" institutions that enroll 99 percent of college students.

Adler and others who are focused on the practices of the most selective schools need to look beyond the 20 or so elite colleges that obsess them. NAICU represents 940 private colleges across the nation. Some of these are "selective." Most are not. For Adler to imply that NAICU's opposition to legislation that would federalize admissions practices at all American colleges was based on a desire to keep rich students at Ivy League universities is laughable at best.

Most of us Americans admire those well-known, "brand name" institutions, but are, ourselves, the proud alumni of humbler places. We have done fine in life-even without the federal government making managerial decisions for our alma maters.

Of course, if you are poor and get admitted to an Ivy League school, you should seriously consider it. Not only will you get a great education, but will likely pay less than you would at a local public college. The most selective colleges are very generous with grant aid, and practice need-blind admissions.

At NAICU, we put our manpower into promoting the need-based student aid programs. Yes, we also fight inappropriate federal intrusion when we see it. We are proud of our sector's independence from governmental control, and will challenge any proposal that threatens our colleges' ability to fulfill their diverse missions. We do so with a blind eye to political affiliation. Adler, himself, points out our bipartisan lobbying efforts against proposals from even friends such as Sen. Ted Kennedy and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

Adler failed to mention our track record of constructive engagement in the legislative process-embracing good ideas from both sides of the political aisle-and proactive leadership on important national initiatives that serve the public interest.

NAICU not only launched the Student Aid Alliance, which increased the maximum Pell Grant from $2,300 in 1994-95 to $4,050 in 2003-04, but Campus Cares, a national effort to highlight and encourage more college involvement in local communities, and Your Vote, Your Voice, an initiative that promotes student civic and electoral engagement on campuses nationwide.

We are committed to enhancing institutional transparency and our accountability to the marketplace. In late September, NAICU will launch U-CAN (the University and College Accountability Network), a free, online, and comprehensive college consumer information tool. The user-friendly web site will give easy access to a wealth of data on hundreds of private colleges and universities, which is not available any where else in a central, consumer-friendly format. The content of the U-CAN web site (www.ucan-network.org) as well as its design, were driven by focus groups with prospective students and parents, conducted over the past year.

Where did this idea come from? We listened to the valid concerns of vocal critics on the college cost issue, such as Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), the Spellings Commission, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), and Rep. John Tierney (D-MA). With U-CAN, we are taking their good ideas and implementing a source of better consumer information to help students and parents select the best college. This includes data on each college's recent pattern of tuition increases, average student debt at graduation, and more.

Finally, NAICU is guilty as charged by Mr. Adler of meeting with Hill staff and encouraging our member colleges to engage in the political process. NAICU's government relations staff has many years of experience working on the nuts and bolts of higher education policy as congressional staff members, including serving on both sides of the aisle on many important legislative initiatives affecting college students and their families, as well as NAICU member institutions. College presidents are on the front lines working to give students an accessible, affordable, and quality academic experience. It is only natural for Hill staff to take time to listen to the well-informed concerns and recommendations of their constituents and the organizations that represent them on federal policy matters-and not just Washington think tanks.

Sincerely,

Sarah A. Flanagan
Vice President for Government Relations and Policy
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

 


September 06, 2007

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Money, Mission Skew Rankings

Money, Mission Skew Rankings

August 23, 2007

UConn Scores Well, But Public Schools Have A Hard Time Staying With Private Universities
UConn Scores Well, But Public Schools Have A Hard Time Staying With Private Universities

August 23, 2007

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Opposing view: Expand overseas programs

Opposing view: Expand overseas programs

August 23, 2007

Our nation's future security and economic well-being requires the next generation to know the world well. That's why America needs to increase dramatically the number and diversity of its students studying abroad and learning strategic languages.
Our nation's future security and economic well-being requires the next generation to know the world well. That's why America needs to increase dramatically the number and diversity of its students studying abroad and learning strategic languages.

August 23, 2007

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Our opinion on study-abroad: Education or vacation?

Our opinion on study-abroad: Education or vacation?

August 23, 2007

Twenty years ago, when college students studied abroad they usually devoted their entire third year, immersing themselves in the language and culture. That's how it became known as "junior year abroad." Times have changed, and not for the better.
Twenty years ago, when college students studied abroad they usually devoted their entire third year, immersing themselves in the language and culture. That's how it became known as "junior year abroad." Times have changed, and not for the better.

August 23, 2007

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About the items posted on the NAICU site: News items, features, and opinion pieces posted on this site from sources outside NAICU do not necessarily reflect the position of the association or its members. Rather, this content reflects the diversity of issues and views that are shaping American higher education.

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