I think it’s fair to say that there is no greater locus of support for government regulation of just about everything anywhere in the country than throughout higher education. Except, that is, when government regulates higher education, calling to mind various aphorisms that cover this hypocrisy (sauce for the goose …, whose ox is getting gored, etc.)
In “Public-College Leaders Rail Against Education Dept.’s ‘Regulatory Culture,'” the Chronicle of HIgher Education reports on a recent meeting at which a government gorer heard from some of the oxen getting gored.
The Education Department’s own regulatory actions—its “regulatory culture”—are the principal impediments to innovation, said George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State College, in New Jersey.
Mr. Pruitt and others cited, in particular, several rules meant to crack down on perceived abuses by for-profit colleges that rely primarily on distance learning. Those regulations include one strictly tying the credit hour to time spent in class, another requiring colleges to be authorized in every state where they enroll students, and one that evaluates the earnings of a college’s graduates in proportion to their amount of student debt.
Those rules may have been meant primarily for proprietary colleges, but they are having a negative impact on all sectors of higher education, Mr. Pruitt argued, and they reflect a view that makes compliance a priority over quality assurance.
“I understand that you get upset if your dog soils the carpet,” he said, “but you don’t go out and shoot your horse for that.”
President Pruitt seems to be oblivious to the fact that a government that has the power to shoot the other fellow’s dog also has, and will use, the power to shoot his horse.