That’s what we need, but the jury is out on whether America has the political and public will to make the changes that are required. For decades, we’ve been doing things the same way, and that approach has served us well on many fronts. Now the time has come for us to start the process of shifting our focus away from where students go to college, so that we can start placing more value on what students actually know when they graduate.
For this shift to happen, we need a better approach to measuring what students know. That means creating a national system of credential and credits that’s based on learning and competencies rather than seat time and where students earned their degrees. This new system must offer clear and transparent pathways to students, support high-quality learning and prepare them to respond to workforce needs and trends.
In a country that prides itself on equality of opportunity, we must reject separate and unequal postsecondary pathways. Not only is our country’s economy ill-served by a system that fails to tap all of our talent, but so is our collective conscience. We’re all diminished by an education system that rations postsecondary opportunity based on skin color, income or status.
Jamie P. Merisotis is president and CEO of Lumina Foundation for Education. Anthony P. Carnevale is director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.