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Education Ticker: U.S. universities downgraded, academics should be digital crusaders

The best of the web on education from kindergarten to postsecondary, as chosen by Globe and Mail education editor Simona Chiose.

Moody's downgrades all U.S. universities

American universities are facing multiple pressures and will have to cut costs further if they are to keep up with declining revenues, suggested Moody's Investors Service. Declines in enrollment are due primarily to family incomes that are lagging far behind the increase in tuition costs, the ratings agency says. And bad press over the value of a postsecondary education, combined with concerns over untenable debt loads are also driving students away. As a result, the ratings agency downgraded its outlook to negative across the entire U.S. postsecondary sector, including top-tier universities.

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Ontario part of first-wave of national university testing

Measuring outcomes across universities is moving one step closer. Last spring, more than 400 civil engineering students in Ontario took a 90-minute test that was also administered to students in several other countries. The goal of the exercise, part of an OECD global project, was to establish whether it's feasible to compare skills and knowledge cross-nationally. So far, the answer is yes.

Academics' role in digital battle questioned

There has been more discussion of what academics believe they owe Aaron Swartz. Key among those debts is Mr. Swartz's articulation – through his actions – of some key principles of the university's mission. Among them is combatting inequalities through increasing access to information and the right of the public to benefit from research funded by the public. But too many faculty members are passive observers of digitization, argues Timothy Burke, rather than actively fighting to ensure free access replaces expensive journal subscriptions.

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About the Author
Postsecondary Education Reporter

Simona Chiose covers postsecondary education for The Globe and Mail. She was previously the paper’s Education Editor, coordinating coverage of all aspects of education, from kindergarten to college and university. She has a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. More

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