The format of the magazine is point-counterpoint, which requires a certain degree of tunnel vision. Also, the word count limit was a constraint. I will just add this: when I say, in the piece, that the details are what matter, I mean it. I spend a significant portion of my life researching , thinking, and arguing about education reform efforts. One point that I insist on is that assessment methods must be proven before they can be responsibly argued. In the realm of education reform, the cart is constantly put before the horse; we are forever debating the political and economic fallout of proposed reforms before we have adequately demonstrated that they actually work. To my dismay, reform advocates often deliberately misrepresent my insistence that proof of efficacy come first as resistance to any kind of reform, or even of improvement at all.
What matters in this reform effort is that the assessment metrics work, that they actually identify schools that are working to reduce tuition costs and the actual financial load on students. And these assessment metrics must be limited to the purpose that Obama articulated in his speech.
But something has to be done. These spiraling tuition costs undermine the most fundamental commitments of the university and cause considerable suffering for those we are tasked with educating.