Not So Fast

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The three-year bachelor’s degree may well be this year’s chief educational fad. First former education secretary Lamar Alexander touted it as the solution for higher education. Lately several colleges have actually started to adopt the three-year plan. Lately Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels decided that three-year college should become more common at his state schools.

Well it’s not a good idea, says Carol Geary Schneider, the president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the leading national association of American colleges. According to an article by Peter Schmidt in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

In a news release accompanying the statement, Ms. Schneider said, “The amount of wishful thinking driving this three-year degree discussion is stunning to me,” adding, “It’s time to take a hard look at the actual evidence on students’ achievement shortfalls.”

“We would do better,” she said, “to focus on helping students actually finish in four years.”

Schneider has a good point. Many, many students already enter college forced to do semesters worth of remedial work and the average student actually currently takes like six years to get a bachelor’s degree. A four-year bachelor’s degree isn’t even standard. What’s driving this sorta slapdash discussion about making a three-year degree the norm? [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer