- xiii, 430 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
- Higher education in America, still thought to be the world leader, is in crisis. University students are falling behind their international peers in attainment, while suffering from unprecedented student debt. For over a decade, the realm of American higher education has been wracked with self-doubt and mutual recrimination, with no clear solutions on the horizon. How did this happen? In this stunning new book, Christopher Newfield offers readers an in-depth analysis of the "great mistake" that led to the cycle of decline and dissolution, a mistake that impacts every public college and university in America. What might occur, he asserts, is no less than locked-in economic inequality and the fall of the middle class. In The Great Mistake, Newfield asks how we can fix higher education, given the damage done by private-sector models. The current accepted wisdom-that to succeed, universities should be more like businesses-is dead wrong.Includes bibliographical references and index.Introduction : the great mistake -- Holding back public colleges -- The price of privatization -- The devolutionary cycle -- The eight stages of decline -- The university retreat from public goods -- Subsidizing the outside sponsors -- Large, regular tuition hikes -- The states cut public funding -- Increased student debt, college as burden -- Private vendors leverage public funds : the case of the MOOCs -- Unequal funding cuts attainment -- Universities build the post-middle class -- The recovery cycle -- Reconstructing the public university.