Christopher Shea takes a look at two books that call for reforms to the university and college system, reforms which would include possible reforms for the tenure system. After considering what these books have to say, Shea suggests the real issue is how universities and colleges are being split into two groups: those with considerable resources and those with few resources:
Here we have the frightening subtext of all the recent hand-wringing about higher education: the widening inequality among institutions of various types and the prospects of the students who attend them. While the financial crisis has demoted Ivy League institutions from super-rich to merely rich, public universities are being gutted. It is not news that America is a land of haves and have-nots. It is news that colleges are themselves dividing into haves and have-nots; they are becoming engines of inequality. And that — not whether some professors can afford to wear Marc Jacobs — is the real scandal.
This is an interesting observation though it isn’t just public schools that are struggling with finances: many schools with fewer resources have had to make changes. What would Shea (or others) suggest could be done about closing this gap between schools?