The New Limits of Education Policy

The New Limits of Education Policy

Avoiding a Tragedy of the Commons

Roger Benjamin

Using a political economy framework to analyze the current problems facing US postsecondary education, The New Limits of Education Policy tackles the questions surrounding the future of higher education. The study provides an explanation of why improvement of teaching and learning is not a high priority for the stakeholders involved. Roger Benjamin explains why heightened recognition by the State of the importance of human capital in the knowledge economy will create the external conditions that will, in turn, create the need for an altered incentive system for these stakeholders. He goes on to make a case for additional positive incentives that would reward behavior that improves teaching and learning.


Roger Benjamin

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, education, education policy, politics and public policy, education policy, social policy and sociology, education policy


1. 2. 3. Arum and Roksa (2011). The for-profit online colleges now comprise about 11 percent of undergraduate enrollment and may reach 20 percent of the total undergraduate market in the next several years. United States Census Bureau (2004). Forty-four percent of high-school drop-outs are not in the labor force and an additional 15 percent are unemployed. See the Current Population Survey, US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, October 2007. Why include high-school drop-outs when the subject is undergraduate education in college? The answer is the division between high school and college is based on an analytic not concrete distinction. If the pipeline to college is so severely truncated, the high-school drop-out rate must be acknowledged as a major part of the issue facing K-12 and undergraduate education. African-American and Latino 12th graders read at the same level as non-Hispanic white 8th graders (National Center for Education Statistics, 2005; data provided via Education Trust. And while non-Hispanic whites graduate from high school at 76.2 percent, Hispanics graduate at a 55.5 percent rate and African-Americans graduate at a 51.6 percent rate. The graduation rate for six years is 57 percent (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010a). For the SAT and ACT see the annual reports by the College Board and ACT. For NAEP see U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center of Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1971–2008. Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) website, multiple years, 2005–2011. See...

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