George Leef, director of research at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, says that higher education has little to do with the apparent decline in social mobility in the United States (an issue posed to several academic leaders by the editors of The Chronicle for Higher Education).  Leef correctly argues,

“The main reason for the decline is that an array of federal, state, and local policies has increased the cost and difficulty for poorer people to improve themselves. Our national arteriosclerosis is a result of the growing burden of regulations that make it more difficult for poor people to start businesses on their own or find job openings with good career paths. Local business regulations, state licensing mandates, and federal minimum-wage and other rules have all made our economy more rigid than it once was, with a strongly disparate impact on the poor.

“What role does higher education play in this? Only a minor one.”

For his entire article and links to others responding to this issue, see: The Problem is Elsewhere – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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