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Research Archive

March 1, 2024

Study What You Love or Study What Will Make You Money?

There’s a better way to think about—and talk to young people about—college. When it comes to education, adolescents and young adults face a dilemma: to follow their intrinsic interests or to choose a course of study they think (or have been told) will secure their economic futures. For most, to ask this question is to…

March 1, 2024

How Should Students Think About College?

In recent years, there has been a marked decline in public confidence in higher education, sparking debate on the value of a bachelor’s degree. In a new report published by AEI’s Center on Opportunity and Social Mobility, we seek to add some much-needed nuance to an increasingly go/no-go debate. Despite public perception, the bachelor’s degree continues to have great…

February 29, 2024

Parents’ Rights, Yes. But Parent Responsibilities, Too

Americans disagree with one another about all manner of important topics when it comes to schools and schooling. That’s inevitable in a nation of more than 300 million people. And even good-faith disagreements will inevitably lead to a certain degree of conflict and strife. That’s part of what it means to live in a free…

February 22, 2024

Chronic Absenteeism Could Be the Biggest Problem Facing Schools Right Now

Chronic absenteeism has become a grim reality across the nation. Nationwide, chronic absenteeism nearly doubled from 15 percent in 2018 to 26 percent in 2023. How bad are these numbers, really, and how can schools respond? My friend and colleague Nat Malkus has the most recent available numbers in his Return to Learn Tracker. In addition,…

February 22, 2024

Education and the Right

Event Summary On February 22, Virginia Education Secretary Aimee Rogstad Guidera interviewed AEI’s Richard Hess and Michael Q. McShane about their new book, Getting Education Right: A Conservative Vision for Improving Early Childhood, K–12, and College. Dr. Hess and Dr. McShane discussed the opportunity for the right to step forward on education issues in the aftermath…

February 15, 2024

Conservatives Must Seize the Opportunity to Lead on Education. Here’s How…

Chaotic campuses rife with double standards about the kinds of speech that merit protection. A Biden administration determined to let student borrowers shrug off hundreds of billions in loans and stick taxpayers with the tab. Progressive states working to eliminate advanced math based on misguided notions of “equity.” Survey findings showing that, when asked about the purpose of civics education, more K–12 teachers mention…

February 14, 2024

Four States That Are Leading the Charge for Conservative Education

It’s looking like this year’s election will feature a Trump-Biden rematch — a pairing that’s especially frustrating for education, where the nation is wrestling with a raft of real problems: dismal student achievement, chronic absenteeism, chaotic classrooms, plunging confidence in higher education, and more.  The Biden administration makes clear that a party beholden to the teacher unions can’t do much…

February 9, 2024

The Upside of the College Enrollment Downswing

Enrollment in education after high school peaked in 2010, with 21 million students enrolling in two-or four-year degree programs that fall. Since then, enrollment has steadily declined, and even projections that predict a modest increase in the coming years top out at 20 million enrollees in 2031. The steepest declines in enrollment were seen at two-year colleges,…

February 8, 2024

Chronic Absenteeism After the Pandemic

Event Summary On February 8, AEI’s Nat Malkus presented on his research into post-pandemic chronic absenteeism and then discussed the phenomenon with a panel of experts. During his presentation, Dr. Malkus argued that a proper understanding of post-pandemic chronic absenteeism must consider both school pandemic closures and school pandemic responses more broadly. Dr. Malkus then…

February 7, 2024

Elite Colleges Need to Offer Less Affirmation. And Insist on More Work.

Recently, I offered a not-so-sophisticated explanation for the histrionics we’ve seen at elite colleges: too many students are simply aimless, lonely, and bored. Well-meaning concern about the mental and emotional state of college students today has fueled a lot of affirmation and hand-holding. But much of this may ultimately be counterproductive, exacerbating fragility rather than supporting well-being….