Access and/or Quality? Redefining Choices in the Third Revolution


In the author's eighteen years as a program officer with the Fund for the Improvement of Postesecondary Education and with the Annenberg.CPB Project, he often saw proposals that were either focused on either increasing access to education or enhancing the quality of education, but not both. Improving both quality and access to higher education, simultaneously and affordable, may seem impossible. And it is impossible to do so painlessly. The author argues that this dual improvement has happened before, at least twice. This article describes two previous revolutions in higher learning and highlights signs that a third revolution is currently under way. The article also provides pointers on how proposals to improve access can also address improving quality and conversely, how proposals focusing on quality of education can also address improving access.

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