Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in April 2006
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings speaks with Michele Norris about disturbing trends in higher education and changes that need to be made, including giving students and parents better information about the quality of education they can expect from a given institution.
"You can find lots of information on Greek life, dorm food, climbing walls, that sort of thing," Spelling says. "But it's really hard to find out how well will your child be educated after a hugely expensive investment by families."
On Tuesday, Spellings laid out her action plan for strengthening U.S. higher education. Her plan follows the release of recommendations by the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, which Spellings created to launch a national dialogue on the accessibility, affordability, and accountability of higher education.
"Too many Americans just aren't getting the education that they need," the commission said in its report. "There are disturbing signs that many students who do earn degrees have not actually mastered the reading, writing and thinking skills we expect of college graduates."
Spellings' proposal includes:
*Aligning high school standards with college expectations.
*Working with Congress to expand the successful principles of the No Child Left Behind Act to high schools.
*Simplifying the process of applying for financial aid by partnering with states to use existing income and tax data to help students complete the application in half the time.
*Notifying students of their estimated aid eligibility before spring of their senior year.
Read the complete action plan for all of Spellings' recommendations.