Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Declining by Degrees

Declining by Degrees

Higher Education at Risk

Edited by Richard H. Hersh and John Merrow; Foreword by Tom Wolfe

St. Martin's Griffin


Trade Paperback

Two decades ago A Nation at Risk sounded a national alarm on K-12 education. Now, an equally urgent alarm is being sounded for higher education in America. In Declining by Degrees, leading authors and educators such as Tom Wolfe, Jim Fallows, and Jay Mathews provide us with a valuable understanding of the serious issues facing colleges today, such as budget cuts, grade inflation, questionable recruitment strategies, and a major focus on Big Time Sports. Tied to the PBS documentary of the same name, Declining by Degrees creates a national discussion about the future of higher education and what we can do about it.


Praise for Declining by Degrees

“I have never heard a single parent speculate about what value might be added by . . . four undergraduate years, other than the bachelor's degree itself . . . an essential punch on the ticket for starting off in any upscale career. The book before you is, to my knowledge, the first to confront the question head-on. All those boys and girls . . . do parents--does anybody--have any idea what happens to them in college?” —from the foreword by Tom Wolfe

“Anyone who cares deeply about American higher education will read this book and feel enlightened and enraged, delighted and despondent, encouraged and in despair. A 'must read' for those interested in both good news and bad, from higher education's influential insiders and jaded outsiders.” —Lee S. Shulman, President, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

“The decline of our once-proud colleges and universities--well documented in this book--is the bitter fruit of our ever-more ineffective K-12 education. This book makes it clear that our nation is still at risk.” —E. D. Hirsch, Jr., author of Cultural Literacy and The Schools We Need

“This [is an] outstanding assessment of the current state of the nation's schools...Forecast: Since most children in America attend 'good enough' schools, this book's potential market is enormous, and the author's high profile will help.” —Publishers Weekly on Choosing Excellence

“No pre-service teacher should consider his or her professional education complete if it does not include regular viewings of The Merrow Report, the documentary series now airing on PBS and National Public Radio.” —Library Journal on Choosing Excellence

“Merrow aims to create a smarter consumer of schools....He succeeds in that he gives parents a framework for what they should be seeking and very practical hints on evaluating schools.” —Karin Chenoweth, Washington Post on Choosing Excellence

“This book points out that there's more to a school than its four walls and reputation, and more people need to be aware of all the choices that are out there.” —Scholastic on Choosing Excellence

“This single volume is an expansive reality check for anyone about to dump $20,000 for their daughter's private education unaware how much of that tuition is siphoned into projects that have zero effect on whether she becomes a first-rate writer, nurse or architect.” —Northeast Breeze on Choosing Excellence

About the author

Edited by Richard H. Hersh and John Merrow; Foreword by Tom Wolfe

Richard H. Hersh is a Senior Fellow at the Council for Aid to Education (RAND). He is the former president of Trinity College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

John Merrow is the Peabody Award winning president of Learning Matters, Inc. He is Host and Executive Producer of The Merrow Report on PBS and NPR. He is an education correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS.

Richard H. Hersh

Richard H. Hersh

John Merrow

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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