The following college issues get lots of attention:
Admissions- high school students PLAN to do things JUST to get them into an elite college. For example nobody takes the SATs just for the fun of it anymore.
Admissions- Some High School Students are stressed out about college admissions, see here
Admissions- Affirmative action.
Admission- Lower standards for athletes?
Sports- too much money spend on it?
Sports- the players treated unfairly?
Are other out-of-class activites also an issue? See here.
Free speech- Speech codes, triggers. (I've heard this talked about for about 30 years now.)
A common core. How to make it not just dead white males.
A common core. How to get this to work when profs are overly specialized.
Professors are rewarded for research more than teaching- how to induce them to be better teachers.(I've heard about this one for about 40 years.)
Renaming buildings that are named after racists. ( Byrd Stadium at UMCP is now Maryland Stadium see here) (If we find out that Fields or Abel was a racist will we rename the awards? Why bother naming things after Justice Scalia or Bobby Kennedy when they will be renamed at some point because of their views on gay people?)
Renaming buildings that are named after the things racists do (see here)
White privilege (If I was black then whenever my blog had bad spelling or grammar it would be connected to my race and assumed upbringing.)
The crushing debts of $100,000 or so that some students face after college. (Which is why some students Feel the Bern!, though others Feel the Bern! for different reasons.)
Hookup culture on campus
Lack of diversity in some majors (I've heard this talked about for about 30 years now.)
(Examples: Across the country CS is at around 15% female. Art History is around 80% female. Why does the CS one generate much discussion and some outrage but the art history one... not so much? I would guess jobs. But the point of this list is just that these are the issues people ARE talking about.)
Should college be vocational vs intellectual? Are these two disjoint?
MOOCS: How will they affect education?
These are important issues. But they affect few people. 65% (and dropping) high school seniors goto college. Over 1/2 of all college students go to community college. Many of those students are part timers who also work. Speech codes are not at the top of the things they have to worry about. These people face other problems that do not get attention. See the following excellent articles
Shut up abour Harvard by Ben Cassleman
The other 75% by Paul Attewell and David Lavin
To give one example: The number of students going to community college who need to take part time jobs to finish and end up with a crushing (to them) debt of $10,000 is a far more common problem then any of the ones above. Why so little coverage?
The articles give other examples of problems that are NOT being talked about.
The other 75% is from the excellent book What is college for edited by Lagemann and Lewis, and reviewed by me, for SIGACT News, here. Most of the other chapters are about the issues above. We need a book, or at least a conversation, about issues of education affecting many more people.
The Morrill Land-Grant Acts established many colleges. It was passed in a time when it was realized that its important to have an educated public. It must have been passed in a time where there were not the pressing issues we have today (like bathrooms for transgender people) so they could think about these issues clearly. It was passed in 1862 in the middle of the Civil War.
A meta-thought--- Every comment on this blog about the issues I list above as NOT affecting that many people will prove my point that those issues are discussed far more than issues that affect far more people. Even so, feel free to comment on whatever issues you want.