The New Limits of Education Policy
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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.
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Chapter 2: Sizing the Problem

Roger Benjamin

Extract

2. Sizing the problem The issues and framework Misaligned incentives and hurdles to overcome The nature and direction of change. The book is divided into three parts: ● ● ● The connections and overall implications of the three major issues – (1) high school drop-outs, unprepared students and low retention and graduation rates; (2) a disproportionate rate of college access for African-American and Hispanic students; and (3) the needs of the Knowledge Economy – can be understood as an example of a common pool problem (CPP). Viewing undergraduate education as a CPP becomes especially important because of the importance of human capital in today’s Knowledge Economy. The question then is what are the external and internal hurdles involved in post-secondary education that need to be dealt with to solve the CPP. This study provides an explanation of why improvement of teaching and learning is not a high priority for the stakeholders involved in postsecondary education. In fact, it is difficult to imagine how the situation might change without substantial external pressure. Therefore, the monograph is designed to explain why heightened recognition by the state of the importance of human capital in the Knowledge Economy will create the external conditions that create the need for an altered incentive system for the stakeholders in higher education. Because the faculty is central to both the status quo and any prospective change, I make the case for new incentives to reward behavior that improves teaching and learning. Assessment has an important role in this possible new incentive system, a...

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