Monday, October 16, 2006

Big Government

I am a big believer in free enterprise. I thought, until recently, that the one thing that is consistent with Republican theology is limited government. Then I read what Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said about her views on American colleges in Newsweek. Basically, the Secretary is calling for making:
"...higher education more accountable by opening up the ivory towers and putting information at the fingertips of students and families."
The Secretary claims it is all but impossible for families to compare schools and make an intelligent choice because there is a lack of comparable information. According to the Newsweek article:
"Spellings and others would like a national database that discloses things like graduation rates, how well students are educated, and how much they earn afterward."
This sounds like "Big Government" to me. Only the indicators deemed "appropriate" would be used to "rank" the colleges and, all of a sudden, free enterprise (defined as my ability to choose from a mix of perceived value via offsetting quality and price) becomes forced choice. If, as the Secretary points out, "consumer demand is a big part of this" (i.e., her desire to make information available), then let the free market dictate which colleges parents and students choose based on what the market says, not what big government says.

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