I recently read the book A Perfect Mess: the Unlikely Ascendancy of American Higher Education by David Larabee. It’s very good – in fact, the first two chapters are for my money the best short history of pre-1900 American higher education ever written. I’m going to refer to this book a few times over the next couple of weeks. But today, I want to talk about an engaging little passage he penned about how business came to view college (that is, American … [ Read More ]
No Ving Rhames/Pulp Fiction jokes (you were thinking it, you know you were). Just a couple of interesting tales from about the high middle ages to show that in fact there is almost no tale under the sun in higher education which isn’t seven or eight centuries old.
Student loans. Though the tradition of providing aid to worthy but needy students as a gift (i.e. bursaries) has a history almost as old as universities themselves, the concept of lending money to … [ Read More ]
Five years ago I wrote the following blog, under the headline “fifteen years ago today”. I think it’s worth running again (with a couple of minor alterations).
On September 24th, 1997, Jean Chrétien rose in the House of Commons to present his reply to the Speech from the Throne. About half-way in, he noted casually that there would likely be a financial surplus that year (a miracle, considering where we’d been in 1995). And he was planning to blow it … [ Read More ]
I’m feeling low on creativity today, so I’m going to go to that old stand-by: telling war stories. And specifically, I’m going to go back and trace the rise of tax credits in the Canadian higher education system and what that tells us about policy-making in Canada.
Tax benefits for education go back to the late 1950s. There was pressure at the time to create a “national system of scholarships”, but this clearly was going to cause problems in Quebec. … [ Read More ]
There is a lot of talk these days about populists and universities. There are all kinds of thinkpieces about “universities and Trump”, “universities and Brexit”, etc. Just the other day, Sir Peter Scott delivered a lecture on “Populism and the Academy” at OISE, saying that over the past twelve months it has sometimes felt like universities were “on the wrong side of history”.
Speaking of history, one of the things that I find a bit odd about this whole discussion … [ Read More ]