In re: American Higher Education Should Learn From Detroit

At least thats the opinion of the Economist this week (subscription required) and I think I agree with them. Why is that you might ask? Well it is clear that right now the US is dominating the world in higher ed, just as you might say Detroit once was all powerful. While the worlds students, professors have long flocked to our campuses, the rest of the world has taken notice and like Toyota and Honda and now Hyundai, they aren’t sitting around.

Are American universities in this position because they are so good, or because their competition is so bad? The evidence, overwhelmingly, is that the latter is the case—especially when you look at Europe.

China has taken note and has been dumping money into their universities (not that this is the only thing that makes a good education) but as other countries strive to compete and the price of US education continues to soar, it would be wise to step back and consider how important bringing in the world’s ‘smart people’ to our country is to us. I feel that this has been hugely in our advantage, even if they don’t stay (although many do) we gain from having unparalled diversity in our universities, allowing the employment of more professors (some of whom produce important results — not here at law of course…) So maybe they should take a hard lesson from Detroit and start to reform before their ‘collapse’ — just a thought.


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