College’s Identity Crisis, Frank Bruni’s October 2013 essay in the New York Times, is a perfect example of not what is wrong with college, but what is wrong with the way people think about college. Bruni’s essay is one more exhibit in what Kevin R. McClure correctly pegs as Higher Education’s Reform-Industrial Complex:
Dominating the higher-education-reform conversation are those whose livelihoods are tied to the idea that the system is failing or in need of some “innovative” solution. Take, for example, the myriad policy centers and think tanks that have popped up recently to give opinions on higher education’s future. It is the job of these organizations to write papers and convene meetings about the problems colleges and universities face, meaning there is work (and employment) only so long as problems can be identified.