" Toby has seen higher education change greatly over the decades. In his new book The Lowering of Higher Education in America (Praeger), he pulls no punches in explaining how the mania for promoting "access" to college for as many people as possible has driven down academic standards and expectations. It's unconventional thinking par excellence."
"Toby, a retired professor of sociology and criminology at Rutgers U., contends that financial assistance for college should be based on academic performance. He describes how colleges weaken education by giving students a sense of entitlement; how they make it easy for too many underprepared students to get accepted; what the costs of underprepared students are; how grade inflation undermines academic achievement; how students spend their time at college and how this affects retention rates; whether attending college improves job prospects; how federal grants and loans have universalized financial aid; and how public policy should change."
"Jackson's new book The Lowering of Higher Education in America is a gem. . . . Run, do not walk, to your bookstore (or on-line provider) and buy Jackson's book." -- collegeaffordability.blogspot.com
"...an excellent book...This one is on numerous ACTA staff members' personal reading lists, and we recommend it most highly!"
"The book is well organized, with the chapters building Toby's case in a logically progressive manner. Moreover, his section headings are clear, rather than cryptic or cutesy, and these headings are often stated as research questions, making it easy for readers to follow his argument."
"With the authority of a lifetime devoted to college teaching, Jackson Toby tells hard and painful truths that most professors would prefer to keep hidden. There are too many students in American colleges today; many of them are under-prepared, don't want to study, can't do the work, but stay anyway, cosseted by grade-inflating professors. Worst of all, well-meaning but ill-considered government aid policies make a bad situation worse by placing the least suitable students in classes where most of them are destined to fail."
"Jackson Toby, a particularly acute critic of the American high school and American higher education, here makes a sharp argument against the unexamined grain of much current discussion about college access: That it should be available to almost everybody, and almost everybody will benefit from it. As he demonstrates, higher education must always depend on the willingness of the person to be educated to cooperate and participate. He argues that merit--willingness to work at education, and capacity to do so--should and must remain a key determinant of access to higher education, and its depreciation in the rush to universal access harms both high-school and college education. His powerfully argued book makes an important contribution to the issue of access to college, how wide, for whom, and on what basis."
"The distorted roles that college and the college degree have acquired in American life constitute, in my view, our most serious educational problem. But saying what needs to be said requires stepping on toes, and Jackson Toby is not afraid to do so. He brings to this wonderful analysis the erudition of a scholar, the personal experience of a long- time professor, and the clear writing of a journalist. Somehow the issues he raises must become part of a national dialogue."
"Jackson Toby has hit the jackpot with this incisive critique, showing how lax admission and academic standards of Americans universities have damaged both secondary and higher education. His proposal to tie student loan assistance to academic performance is absolutely spot on."
"Although the overwhelming majority of American scholars are employed by colleges or universities, remarkably few have conducted serious research on the world they inhabit. We are fortunate that Jackson Toby is an exception. The Lowering of Higher Education in America is a learned, fascinating, penetrating, clear-sighted, tough-minded, and sobering analysis of our system of higher education."